Ismael Gozalo is most famous as founder and winemaker at Ossian in Rueda, but since 1998 he has made his own unique wines from his family’s vineyards in the hamlet of Nieva. The vines are up to 200 years old, with many on original rootstock and 800-900 metres above sea level, on primarily sandy soil which has never seen chemical treatment. In the cellar, Ismael defies all rules and logic – wines are fermented and aged in glass demijohns, steel, oak and amphora, and racked between these different vessels as and when he deems appropriate. Extended lees contact is the one common theme. Ismael’s wines are released under two labels, Vinos Ismael Gozalo and Vinos Microbio.
La Banda del Argilico comes from 2 different vineyards on sandy soil with clay bands. The wine rests just short of 6 months on its fine lees and everything is done in stainless steel. This is Verdejo light years apart from the more ubiquitous mass-produced variety; the extreme age of the vines producing fruit of an incredibly high quality. Even at this level you are looking at vines approaching 100 years old. The finished wine has the most incredible soft, pulpy texture. The lees-contact gives structure and salinity and the fruit comes across like one of those incredibly ripe galia melons that just the sight of starts to make your mouth water. Wonderful wine operating well outside the known Spanish idiom.