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Wines of Catalunya–Cesca Vicent

Vineyards at Cesca Vicent

Equipped with a detailed soil map of her estate, illustrating its 11 different soils types, Francesca Vicent–a fifth generation producer–makes terroir driven wines.  Dating to the 15th century, Cesca Vicent is one of the oldest Priorato vineyards.  Drawing from two separate plots that reside at 160-240m altitude–Mas d’en Corral and Maria Prunera–Cesca Vicent, at 13.2ha, cultivates organic vineyards.  Working with these varying soil types, Francesca also has a variety of microclimates at her fingertips.  In 2006 the estate conducted a study of their soils, performing some 30 boring tests, so that they might analyze the results and best match each soil type with the most optimal grape varietal.

In the 1980’s, Francesca inherited 11ha of vineyards, while her brother took over Cellar Cecilio, the family estate.  After purchasing an additional 2ha, she established her own terraced vineyard, next to Cellar Cecilio, planting vines in 1984 and selling the grapes until 1999, when Francesca released her first vintage.  As a fifth generation winemaker, it was important to Francesca that she pass the family tradition onto her daughters, Carmen and Ester.

Francesca with her daughter Carmen

Instinctually, she’s been practicing organic since 1999, and will become certified in 2011.  Striving “to make as natural wine as possible to express the terroir,” Francesca practices dry farming whenever possible and employs “sexual confusion techniques” to deter insects without the use of pesticides.  Conducting “soil studies to make sure that merlot, syrah, etc. are planted in the right place,” Francesca says that with this testing, she was “looking for different flavor profiles.”  Knowing how each varietal benefits from the different soils, “aids tranquility,” she says, because she, working with vintner Emili Esteve, knows what they have.  Working with wild yeasts, and not filtering nor fining in the winery, Esteve has been working with Francesca since day one.

We just tasted the 2004 Lo Piot Priorat, in office, and it’s lovely! Earthy bloom on bright berry fruit.  Piercing acidity with a hint of anise and tabac. Drink now!

Reviews from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: 

2005 Celler Cesca Vicent Abat Domenech Priorat–($50; an interesting blend of 35% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 25% garnacha and 10% syrah) Vivid ruby. Black raspberry, spicecake, rose and licorice on the nose. Deeply pitched red and dark berry flavors are enlivened by zesty minerality and complemented by notes of woodsmoke, licorice and candied flowers. Penetrating fruit and mineral qualities expand on the finish, which features notes of peppery spice and licorice. Showing very good complexity now but this is built to age. 91 Points
2007 Celler Cesca Vicent Abat Domenech Priorat–(a 50/50 blend of garnacha and cabernet sauvignon):  Ruby-red.  Perfumed aromas of black raspberry, licorice and smoky minerals.  Offers spicy, mineral-accented red and dark fruit flavors with an alluring sweetness and a silky texture.  This seamless, open-knit wine shows no no rough edges and finishes long, sweet and suave, with very soft tannins.  91 Points
2004 Celler Cesca Vicent Lo Piot Priorat–($32; 70% garnacha, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot, carinena and syrah) Deep ruby. Pungent aromas of black raspberry, cherry, sassafras and licorice, with a bright mineral overtone. Rich but lively, with sweet red and dark berry flavors and very good clarity. Repeats the red fruit note on the long, sweet and energetic finish. This is delicious now. (T. Edward Wines, New York NY) 90 Points

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