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Ossian

View Ossian's superb Verdejo.

Location and climate

The Ossian vineyards are situated in Nieva, grow at the highest altitude of those within the Denominacion de Origen Rueda (Appellation Contrôlée Rueda), ranging from 840 to 930 metres above sea level. This is a decisive factor in determining a climate that provides great differences between day and night-time temperatures during ripening.

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History

The OSSIAN Project is based on absolutely exceptional vineyards: 17 hectares of ungrafted, pre-Phylloxera Verdejo grape vines whose age is up to 285 years! They provide very low yields, in small clusters of high quality berries of awesome concentration.

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Viticulture

At OSSIAN, they cultivate their vineyards organically and hold the longest-running organic certification of the region. They do not use a single synthesised chemical product and do not use fungicides or herbicides. They make our own compost from organically fed sheep manure and organic straw.

Their vineyards are situated near the village of Nieva, in the province of Segovia, toward the north of Spain's high central plateau. Their terroir is plain sand, 8 metres deep in some places, with gravel on the surface and clay below. Which explains how these vines survived the Phylloxera outbreak as the pests cannot survive in sand. In some areas there is a considerable amount of black slate in the sand, as some of Spain's biggest slate quarries are not far from them.

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Winery

With such fantastic raw material, they decided to see if Burgundian white winemaking philosophy and techniques would adapt well to their old vines and local grape variety: Verdejo. Their objective was to make a top quality white wine that would evolve and age well in bottle for 10 to 20 years. They travelled to Burgundy to look for an oenologist that could help us meet our goals.

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They were very fortunate to find Pierre Millemann, who is a consultant to some of the finest properties in Burgundy. Pierre fell in love with the Ossian vineyards and accepted their challenge. He is responsible for the design and supervision of their wines.

Under his guidance they made their first wine in 2005. They de-stemmed half of the harvest and ventured into full clusters for the other half. The results of their non de-stemmed wines were so favourable that they have not de-stemmed a single cluster since. Pierre ordered barrels of 225 and 600 litre capacity from four different coopers. Each is made of oak from three different French forests and has two different levels of wood toasting. This combination allows them to add complexity to their wines and to harness the oak they have found best enhances their low-yielding, pre-Phylloxera vineyards.

Needless to say, they do not use commercial yeasts. They only ferment with the natural wild yeast that blooms in their vineyards. This approach lends a unique, natural personality to their wines.

The wines are fermented in a modern building equipped with the latest technology, but the ageing of the wines takes place in a small 12th century building, part of the old Monastery of El Parral. This monastery is made of bricks and slate in the Moorish style of the period. It is located opposite a Mudejar church of the same century.