The elegance of Cesanese


Eleonora Perez, a Woman in charge of the family business who decided to take up the challenge in a place where nature is “indomitable and harsh” cit. I like to think of her as a modern heroine, because to make wine here you need a to have the strength and the tenacity of the great leader. Heroic viticulture, what does that really mean? Come visit Vini Raimondo Winery and all you need to do is turn into the dirt road that leads to the winery to fully grasp the true meaning of this statement.

The 4 hectares of vineyards rest on steep terracing and are surrounded by woods. We are a little over 500 meters above sea level and the landscape is definitely impervious: we are in the mountains, the air is pungent and invigorating and smells of woodland! The wild boars are many, greedy for grapes, and here the Cesanese ripens at the beginning of November thus leaving the bunches exposed to the gluttons for much too long! It was necessary to fence the area! The boars have eaten out up to 40% of the harvest in the past! A huge investment indeed, but it was worth it! And I’ll explain why in a moment! I’m going to hug Eleonora now who is coming to greet us wrapped in a warm scarf, while I realize I am wearing the wrong jacket as usual!! I’m cold!

Class will out if you are born a noble soul, and here in Affile it will most definitely stem out of Vini Raimondo superb Cesanese. “I would have never guessed to define a Cesanese as a truly elegant wine!” and I quote Barbara Nocco, a Sommelier way more experienced than me! As one is born a Gentleman, elegance has its own rules and is show by the very few. We are yearning to learn more, and despite the stingy cold and the impervious territory, we happily stroll down to the vineyards to start our class! The boars can’t get us anyway!

And it’s here that we discover a first and important clue: the soil. Clay, tuff and sand. That’s right! Here in the mountains we inexplicably find a significant layer of white sand, and to summarize it in an easy way, sand=elegance. Another clue: mountain=thermal excursion, and thermal excursion=elegance! Are you beginning to understand why we couldn’t leave these grapes to the boars?

It is what Eleonora likes to call the Fox Terroir, where nature is indomitable indeed, but if you can adjust to it and make the fox live in harmony with the grapes, and are able to combine all this with an expert team and a lot of courage, you can certainly  work out a true masterpiece!

Cesanese, let’s talk about it! Nature here is harsh, but it is the vines that won the battle to survival over the centuries. The name of this variety seems to derive from “caesae”, a Latin word for “places were the trees are cut down” to make room for agricultural purposes. Cesanese here has found its perfect home so much so that the seven appellations are all in this region. Moreover, here at Vini Raimondo it is dressed up with an unexpected and alluring elegance in all its versions:

CYBELLE – love at first sip at his debut! A rosé of rare elegance and complexity, floral and exotic in its first version, more distinctly mineral and masculine in the following year, and 2019 will be a bomb! We didactically tasted it, and although it’s still in the embryonic stage, it is on its way to become a superstar!!

NEMORA – a muscular but elegant Cesanese! Take your time to enjoy it and it will amaze you with an endless sequence of aromas and sensations: roses, from red fruit to grapefruit and orange peel, spices, the sweet balsamic hints of licorice. Tannin is firm but never intrusive, a great wine you can forget in the cellar for a while if you want, but if I were you I would not want to!!

TERRAE VULPIS – and here is where I challenge you all! Try and find a Cesanese that is more elegant than this one! The Lord of the Castle: authoritative, calm, tremendously eloquent, infinite class and irresistible charm! Complex and richer than his young brother, with whom he certainly shares the family traits. The tannin here is not a just a silky caress but rather an enveloping embrace you would never want to leave from! It is a Reserve made only with the best grapes and only in the best vintages, so if you happen to run into this bottle just grab it! As a matter of fact, my suggestion is go fetch some! Now! You’ll thank me for it!