D.O./D.O.C/D.O.Ca: Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana
Address: Paraje Alcaydías, 4, Novelda 03660
Telephone: +34 965 603 763
Fax: +34 965 603 703
Date Bodega was Founded: 1998
Hectares of Vines: 23 hectares
Grape Varieties Grown: Monastrell (indigenous variety), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah for the red wines; Macabeo, Moscatel, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay for the white wines, along with some other varieties which are currently being tried out, such as Petit Verdot and Albariño
Production in Liters: 60,000
Enologist(s): Sebastien Boudon
Wines Elaborated:Lizana, Heretata de Cesilia, Ad Gaude, Azal, Señor de Sirera
Importers:None as of yet, but VERY interested in exporting their wines
Short History Provided by the Bodega:
The present Casa Sicilia farm was founded in 1707, during the period of the third Marquis de la Romana, as a farmhouse dedicated to the production of high quality fruit, wine and oil.
Almost three centuries later, in 1998, the present-day wine-making project was started, thanks to the efforts of members belonging to the A.S.T. (Agrarian Society of Transformation) company no.5685 CASA SICILIA. It’s aim is to produce a high quality wine, combining the best tradition and the newest technologies to achieve a unique result in the region. Our winery and vineyard are called “Heretat de Cesilia” in memory of the former name of the present farm house, which is of Valencian origin.
Located in Novelda, Alicante, 240 metres above sea level, Casa Sicilia has been a very important agricultural production centre in the area of the Medio Vinalopó for centuries. It owns land throughout the Medio Vinalopó valley and includes the areas of Mola, Ledua, Sicilia and Alcaydías.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited their winery on several occasions now, but this particular visit was a little different in that – full disclosure – my partner Emilio Saez van Eerd is working to help them both find exporters and to set up a one of a kind wine tourism project, something I hope that we can write about in the near future. What I can say from my perspective is that the wines made here are of high quality. The French winemaker, Sebastien Boudon, is very intent on achieving a goal, which I feel he has achieved: to make wine from the local native grapes using methodologies he learned from his native region in Bordeaux called, Entre deux Mer.
The first time I visited Heretat de Cesilia, I was shown the visitors center, which was still under construction, overlooking the vineyards that surround the bodega. Not much to see as of yet, but the view does include a glimpse at Santuario de Santa María Magdalena. I’m sure that it will be a special treat to visit in the future. What makes this place amazing from a future tourism perspective, however, is that this winery is part of an estate that was founded in 1707, complete with the original farmhouse filled with its antique fixtures and furniture untouched by time. I had the chance to wander around the old house, appreciating the fact that not a few minutes earlier, I had been touring the outside in the main winemaking facility filled with stainless steel, temperature controlled fermentation tanks and other modern day marvels; while inside, this farmhouse is only contains a full set of plate armor and rusty old farm tools last used well over century ago. It puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?
But the wines are the reason we are here, and a day spent barrel-tasting, learning about Heretate de Cesilia’s particular style of winemaking, and Sabastien’s goals offered us an incredible opportunity to experience the new face of Spanish wine. The base of these wines is red grape varietal called, Monastrell, a varietal able to endure the drought and extreme heat poured upon it by the Alicante sun. It’s Monastrell’s ability to make rich and complex wines that that drew me to Alicante, peaking my interest and fascination as to the wines they create here. Often jammy and full of flesh, the traditional wines from this region can sometimes, not always, seem more fit to spread on toast than to consume from a glass. At there best, they are earthy dark monsters, full of minerals, dark fruits, black pepper and exotic spices, but when a passionate French man is stirred into the mix, what you get is something entirely different. Take these rich flavors and add French structure, and like a scaffold, you find wines which have fruit hung from a lattice work of tannins and acidity, each flavor stretched out and expanded so that each wine doesn’t speak with only one red voice, but many individual distinct flavors.
I came to this realization after tasting the first glass of Lizana when Sebastien asked my impression of the wine, I remember distinctly saying, “These are French wines with a Spanish core”. Many years ago ,during the plight of phyloxerra, the French helped the Spanish produce wine, thus creating the famous wine region of Rioja. This melding of Spanish terroir and French winemaking is what founded one of the greatest wine regions in the world. Heretat de Cesilia is headed down a similar path. Sebastien does not want to make French wines in Spain, but rather Spanish wines with a touch of French discipline. Personally, I’m excited to see where this is winery is headed. Right now, the wines are young, and unlike most Spanish wines, these will not show their best in the first couple of years after bottling. Leave any of these wines in bottle for at least two years, preferably more, and these wines will come alive!
I’ll end with some tasting notes and a quick thought. If you do come to Spain and have the chance to taste these wines, make sure to give them some air. Decant and decide for yourself. This little gem in the heart of Alicante I think will surprise you!
Ryan’s Tasting Notes
Gabriella’s Tasting Notes
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