I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

Spanish Bodega Profile – Heretat de Cesilia – DO Alicante

heretat de cesilia

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
Email: casa-sicilia@casa-sicilia.com
Web: www.casa-sicilia.com
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.

Catavino Notes:
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?

lizana

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!

Cheers,

Ryan Opaz

Ryan’s Tasting Notes

Lizana
  • 2004 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Lizana – Spain, Vino de Mesa (6/28/2007)
    55%Merlot, 15% Syrah, 15% Petit-Verdot, 15% Monastrell
    13.5% alcohol
    Region: Alicante
    Nice deep red color. The nose is restrained at first only showing a smoky fruit profile with some herbal qualities like mint and rosemary. In the background there is a whole mess of red fruits trying to show through with a cashew and hazelnut nuttiness. This wine really draws you in. Lush in the mouth with a high acidity and firm tannins that are kept in the background framing the wine nicely. Chocolate, charcoal, brambles, and rich raspberry fruit all show in the mouth, though this wine needs time to open. Bordeaux like in it’s complexity this is not your mother Spanish wine. 5+yrs of cellaring would help it a lot.
    4 grape
  • 2005 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Señor De Sirera – Spain, Vino de Mesa (7/5/2007)
    Bright gold color, iwth a creamy almost waxy nose that gives way to peaches, pineapple, butterscotch and richness. Really a wine that screams malo-lactic and oak, but never really shoves it in your face, strange. Bright acidity, while remaining creamy, possible due to time on lees. Butter, waxy pineapple in the mouth with light oak, custard and butterscotch again. Dynamic wine with a lot going for itself. I rarely enjoy oak aged whites and yet here I find I want more.
    3.5 grape
  • 2003 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Seleccion Barricas – Spain, Vino de Mesa (7/5/2007)
    Dark rich and red that is the color on this wine. Mineraly nose with hints of milk chocolate, slight bacon fat and thyme underbelly. This all combines with black current and cassis fruit to make for a tight and yet complex nose. In the mouth the high tannins are no match for the even higher acidity and therefore the wine took over a day to fully open. Lush fruit and wood mix and yet remain tight as a drum. With time there seems to be a better harmony, yet all together this wine never fully integrates.
    3.5 grape

Gabriella’s Tasting Notes

  • 2004 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Lizana – Spain, Vino de Mesa (7/5/2007)
    55% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 15% Petit-verdot, 15% Monastrell
    Black ruby purple with a fun carnival nose bouquet filled with cinnamon, charcoal, chocolate, cassis and violet with the occasional hint of blood orange- odd for a red wine, no? Strangely, it fails on the palate if not decanted – reminded me of drinking broth. Really light and uninteresting. Once decanted however, it is a nice beautiful wine with strong black cherry, smoke and licorice notes.
    4 grape
  • 2005 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Señor De Sirera – Spain, Vino de Mesa (7/5/2007)
    90% Albarino and 10% Chardonnay
    Deep buttery yellow mimicking to a tee the aromas on the nose of creamy thick butter, honeydew melon, wax, pineapple and banana. It reminded me of the smell I typically get from a Carbonic macerated wine, which sadly, I dislike. Too much banana on the nose, while the palate, albeit creamy and vanilla custard like, threw me off. Additionally, I felt that although the wine had nice structure, the acidity was a bit too high. However, despite my personal dislike of that overwhelming banana aroma, I can say that it is a good wine.
    3.5 grape
  • 2003 Heretat de Cesilia Vino de Mesa Seleccion Barricas – Spain, Vino de Mesa (7/5/2007)
    Midnight purple in color with a slight rim of brilliant white. No surprise here, but it needed hours before you could gain anything from the nose. Tight, obscure and unable to decipher one flavor from the other, but hours later, it showed a beautiful bouquet of dark rich viscous black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, smoldering coals, tobacco and menthol. Strangely, as I was taking in the aromas, an image of sucking on a branch, maybe eucalyptus popped into my head. At first sip, I found the palate to have some of that same unbalanced acidity I found in the 2003 Senor de Sirera, but the acidity softened into a nice structured wine that I would rather drink with food or on its own during a nice cold winter day. These wines are not summer wines for me but rather dark, stormy and cold winter nights.
    3.5 grape
  • Rosado: This was a sample we received in an unmarked stunningly beautiful clear bottle. I say stunningly beautiful because both the elegantly teardropped shape of the bottle in conjunction with the ethereal dark nectarine color of the wine was mesmorizing. I honestly have never seen such a cool color for a rosado. Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love this wine. Throughout our entire virtual tasting for Rosados on Catavino, I never connected with a rosado that wasn’t a Cava. This has changed. The nose is equally as incredible with aromas of mead, peach, citrus with a background of watermelon and caramel. So good. Albeit very one dimensional, it has nice balanced acidity and good structure. Reminds me of drinking a bowl of tropical fruit.
    4 grape
  • bbennett

    Ryan, I really enjoyed the article. Bill

  • bbennett

    Ryan,

    I really enjoyed the article.

    Bill