Castilla Y Leon, Spain
Ismael Gozalo is a visionary in Spanish winemaking. As the fifth generation of farmers in the municipality of Nieva, his family has tended to their pre-phylloxera Verdejo vines dating back to 1748… some of the oldest vineyards in the world. The land where they farm is incredibly special, as there are four key soil types (sand, slate, limestone, clay) that derived from a prehistoric mountain range (170 million years old) to give varying yet perfect terroir for grapes in this continental climate. Ismael is well known for his Ossian Winery of the Rueda DO, yet his stylistic preferences lean toward showing the purest expression of the varietal, so in 1998 he began MicroBio in an underground cellar in an ancient monastery to showcase wines that see only neutral vessels for fermentation and aging (old barrels, amphora, glass demijohns). Ismael grows his fruit organically, with little intervention, as to avoid leaving traces in the ecosystem; guided by a philosophy known as Biosinergias (which predates Steiner’s biodynamics by 2,000 years), where nothing happens randomly because the true nature of the earth will show itself from vintage to vintage, because the most important thing is the balance between soil, plant, fruit, and wine. Only a tiny dose of SO2 is used before the unfiltered bottling, making his wines unique, expressive, and truly exciting for Spain. He makes 5 verdejos, and 7 different and incredible reds.
For more information, visit: https://www.spanishwinelover.com/188-winerie-microbio
Livre Mencia VdT Castilla Y Leon 2014
The 2014 Livre Mencia is a small production wine from the Bierzo D.O. that comes from a half hectare sloped vineyard with a north orientation, making for a fresh wine with balanced ripeness even in hot vintages. The vineyard, planted in 1926, is composed of schist soil, and is still plowed by horse, as machines cannot work with the steep environment. 75% of the fruit is de-stemmed, and 25% is left as whole-cluster for fermentation in stainless steel, which lasted 22 days, before it was pressed and transferred to three 600 liter neutral French oak barrels for 13 months. The Livre is rustic and earthy while showcasing pretty fruit, a fresh style, and a lush, rich mouthfeel.
Rufian Rufete VdT Castilla Y Leon 2014
The 2014 Rufian Rufete comes from the western reaches of Castilla y Leon, near Miranda del Castañar in the province of Salamanca. A beautiful one-hectare enclosed vineyard that was planted in 1951 on decomposed granite soils and slate is home to the Rufete varietal (also known as Tinta Pinheira in Portugal) which is said to be the ‘brother’ of Pinot Noir from Burgundy. A very subtle grape with floral aromatics, Ismael treats the fruit very gently in the cellar, and only presses with feet and hands to aid during the fermentation and never uses pumps to keep the cap submerged. The wine only rests for nine months in used Burgundy barrels, as the time spent is perfect to keep the fresh expression of fruit, pretty earth tones, and high acidity, making a gorgeously balanced wine that is light on its feet and perfect with food.
Rack Verdejo VdT Castilla Y Leon 2014
The 2014 Rack Verdejo comes from pre-phylloxera vines in the area of Nieva in the province of Segovia. This unique wine is made by introducing reduction and oxidation to the must at the same time. By filling half a stainless steel tank with highly turbid juice, and introducing extra oxygen during fermentation, Ismael attempts to generate a self-protective wine. The result is fantastic, curious, and delicious. Texturally stimulating and completely balanced on the palate, the Rack is as unique a Verdejo that one will find. Adventurous and open-minded wine drinkers: have fun!
“Hazy, green-tinged gold. Wild, complex bouquet evokes dried pit fruits, poached pear, iodine and white flowers, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Broad, palate-staining flavors of orchard and pit fruits with suggestions of buttered toast and fennel. Smooth, seamless and spicy on the very long finish, which resonates with mineral and floral notes. These vines reportedly pre-date phylloxera. This intriguing wine is made by filling a stainless tank halfway with must while adding oxygen as it begins to ferment, with the idea that oxidative and reductive qualities are being introduced simultaneously. Sounds strange, but the wine is extremely tasty if, I suspect, destined for a short but exciting life in bottle.” 92 Points – Josh Raynolds, Vinous.com
Sietejuntos Garnacha VdT Castilla Y Leon 2014
The 2014 Sietejuntos Garnacha comes from El Barraco, in the province of Avila in the center of Spain. Hand-harvested and sorted from a half-hectare vineyard that was planted in 1949, which has a northwest exposure and decomposed granite soils, creating a beautiful combination of terroir to make as amazing a Garnacha that Spain can have. Fifty percent of the grapes are left whole-cluster when fermented in open French oak barrels, and go through low temperature fermentation in order to help keep a pure and bright expression of fruit. The finished wine is extraordinary, with stunning personality, dark and concentrated juice while still quite fresh and elegant.
Sin Rumbo Verdejo VdT Castilla Y Leon 2014
The 2014 Sin Rumbo is one of five of Ismael’s incredible expressions of the Verdejo varietal. The Sin Rumbo comes from a half-hectare pre-phylloxera vineyard that was planted in 1872 on poor siliceous sand and gravel soil. The wine goes through a very particular process: after hand-harvesting, the grapes are cold pressed as whole clusters in a small vertical press, where Ismael is looking for hyper-oxidation of the must. Then a slow fermentation in a 7-year-old barrel for the first couple of weeks occurs, until the temperature is then raised to speed up the process more quickly. This results in a wine with light volatility and a unique flavor profile after its time in old oak for a year. The wine is stunning and magical on the palate, full of life and vibrancy, with a balance of weight, fruit and acidity.