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Celler Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops 2015

Other Red Blends from Priorat, Spain
  • RP90
0% ABV
  • JD92
  • RP90
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4.2 8 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Black Slate Gratallops comes from a blend of older and younger vine fruit originating from winemaker August Vicent’s vineyards near the village. It showcases both the power, typical of Gratallops, as well as the charmingly elegant and rustic touch of Vicent's winemaking.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The Black Slate series wines are produced by different producers from different villages of Priorat for US importer Eric Solomon, as is the case of the 2015 Black Slate Gratallops from Celler Cecilio. They want to show the character of the Priorat grapes in the different villages. It's a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah from (guess what?) slate soils that fermented separately with indigenous yeasts and with 20% of the volume being raised in oak barrels for some eight or nine months. I noticed the Syrah here, combined with classical Gratallops sweet Garnacha and a pinch of spices. The palate is medium-bodied, with the fine slate texture, generous, warm and showy, but without excess, with the graphite holding it together. This is a Gratallops Vi de Villa.
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Celler Cecilio

Celler Cecilio

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Celler Cecilio, Priorat, Spain
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Celler Cecilio is located in Gratallops, in the heart of Priorat, and was the first winery registered in the D.O.Ca. It is a family estate dedicated to making and bottling wine since 1942, established and founded by Cecilio Vicent, father of the current owner and winemaker, August. When Cecilio, a native of Valencia, settled in the Priorat, he met and married into a family with many hectares of vineyards. At this time, these vineyards had been neglected, so Cecilio set about restoring them ­- first selling his grapes to the local cooperative while studying winemaking. Finally in 1942 he began bottling his own wines in a small stable that he renovated into a cellar and which is still in operation today under the stewardship of his son August Vicent.

Vicent farms four vineyard sites in Gratallops and one in El Lloar – 9 hectares in total. The oldest vines are located in Els Espills where the Garnatxa and Carinyena are 80 years old. His remaining plots, El Plana, Mas d’en Corral, La Sort and L’Aubada were replanted starting in the 1980s and finishing with L’Aubada which has converted from an olive grove to a vineyard in 2004. These newer sites are planted with Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Blanca, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. Its renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.

This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.

Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

MSE465167_2015 Item# 326778