Vibrance and tradition at Mas Vicenç
The Ferré family has been in viticulture since 1953, when Vicenç Ferré purchased the estate in Alt Camp at the north end of DO Tarragona, a mere 25 kilometres from the famous Poblet Monastery, but something happened in 2005 to expand the family’s business.
You could say wine flows through the veins of brothers Vicenç and Xavi, considering both young men have grown up surround not only by the amazing scenery of Alt Camp, but participating in the grape growing tradition of the family, which has provided grapes to the local cooperative since the 50s. Yet, this wasn’t quite enough for the brothers, as Vicenç’s interest in the industry took him to the winemaking side of things, first in France, and then to Priorat, before finally saying to his parents Mas Vicenç should produce their own wine. Today, Xavi is the resident sommelier and operations side of the business, handling sales, enotourism and the other aspects required to promote the venture, while Vicenç is the winemaker extraordinaire.
Mas Vicenç produces six wines, selecting the best varietals to go into three white wines, two red wines, and one rosé. The remainder of their production still goes to the local cooperative, including 60 year old perallada grapes which goes into a well-regarded cava. Now some in “elite” wine circles may have not the most positive things to say about wines produced in DO Tarragona for a variety of reasons, there is absolutely nothing negative to say about ANY of the wines coming from Mas Vicenç – from their fresh, fruity, and fun El Terrat, to their aged red Nit de Lluna, and their award winning sweet wine El Vi de Vent.
Mas Vicenç wine lineup also includes another white, Dent de lleo, which is 100% Chardonnay and aged for 5 months in oak. On the red side, they also have Arlequi, a blend of Cabernet, Syrah, and Samso. The final wine is a rosat, Flors i Violes which is mostly Garnatxa with a hint of Tempranillo and Syrah.
On the visit I was joined by Virgil Simons of English Radio Barcelona (as you can witness in the video above), and we were impressed at how the winery is set up to receive visitors. The Ferré family has put time and investment into an enotourism experience which demonstrates the history of the family, combined with their new tradition in winemaking, an investment which has been repaid by top ratings on TripAdvisor by those who have visited the winery.
Visitors enter the compound, with the family’s living quarters on the left, and the winery operations on the right. The walls of the courtyard are lined with photos depicting the family history and lead to a beautiful pool which you walk up into, with a tasting area set up behind the pool that has dynamite views of the plains.
The main entrance to the winery has a sales office and customer reception area, with the fermentation vats and other equipment situated behind. Based on the setup, I can tell the family had put tremendous thought on how to not only set up the winery for proper logistical flow, but also kept in mind how to show visitors what they do, and how they do it.
What stood out to me about the visit was the dedication both Vicenç and Xavi have to their respective functions at the winery. Vicenç has been rewarded with his work in a short period of time, including a bronze medal at last year’s Vinari Awards for their El Vi de Vent sweet wine, which has a fascinating story of how it came to be. I won’t ruin the story here, you’ll have to visit the winery to hear about it first-hand. When Vicenç says he handpicks the grapes for each of their wines, he really means that he handpicks the grapes, plus participating and following each step of the process personally.
Xavi has taken a unique approach to enotourism which has paid off in spades. He saw an opportunity with Nordic Walking, as the layout of the vineyard and its location made it a prime spot for those who partake in the sport to combine their love with a food and wine experience. Taking this niche sport has turned into a boon for Mas Vicenç, as not only do those who come out for the monthly experience enjoy the wine, but Xavi rotates in one of the well-regarded restaurants of the region to provide food.
Virgil and I sat poolside – no, we didn’t go swimming (even though I wanted to do so – and enjoyed their El Terrat (white), Nit de Lluna (red), and their award winning El Vi de Vent (sweet). The wines reflect the personality of the brothers, young, fun and fruity, but well structured. As a fan of reds, the Nit de Lluna with Tempranillo and Syrah, is a great wine for not only dinner or appetisers, but also slightly chilled for those warm summer nights.
All in all, if you’re looking for a gem of a winery with great wines, and a unique offering of enotourism experiences, I highly recommend a stop at Mas Vicenç. Paired with a visit to the fabled Poblet Monastery, you would definitely have an award winning day long excursion to one of the secret locations in Catalunya.
Tim Brown (aka Timmer on social media) has been involved in marketing for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast since his first exposure to Duck Pond Winery in Newberg, Oregon, back in 1995. After coming to Europe in 2012, he made his home in Catalunya in 2013 and became enchanted with the wines and winemakers of the region. Now he shares his experiences so international visitors can enjoy the region’s wines, while continuing his work in the marketing world. Sommeliering and wine snobbery isn´t his thing, and he continues to learn more about wine from a Catalan perspective on a daily basis.