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Clos Figueras Clos Figueres 2004 (Priorat)

A superb vineyard site, with classic 'llicorella' soil, in the famous Gratallops zone of the Priorat appellation - close neighbours include Clos Mogador, Clos Martinet, L'Ermita and Clos Erasmus. The property was acquired in October 1997 by Christopher Cannan of Europvin on the recommendation of René Barbier, owner of the renown Clos Mogador estate and founder of the "new wave" Priorat movement during the late 1980's. An initial purchase of about 10 hectares of abandoned terraces was followed by a further acquisition in 2000 to complete the 17 hectares estate.

From the original vineyard a small plot of old Carignan vines was saved. The remainder was replanted with Grenache, Syrah, a very small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre and Viognier. The second purchase included some 2 500 old vines Carignan and Grenache, some of which are more than 60 years old.

A severe storm in October 2000 swept away part of the Mourvedre plantation which, after the total loss of over 100 vines, is gradually recovering. The vineyard is farmed by René Barbier and his team who also take care of the vinification and ageing of the wines. The final blends, with the various grape varieties, are chosen by Christopher Cannan with René Barbier and Fernando Zamora, his oenologist.

The site of the vineyard is magnificent with sweeping views over towards the Ebro river valley and the mountains of Bajo Aragon beyond. To the rear looms the massif Montsant mountain range and the famous Hermita hill, topped by an ancient and still inhabited chapel. Apart from the well tended terraced vineyards, about 135 Arbequina olive trees contribute to the local production of the superb DOC Suiirana olive oil. While still in its youth Clos Figueres has a promising future, ranking with the leading names of the appellation. The poor schist soil maintains production at an extremely low level. There is no irrigation and the vineyards are tended by René and his team with ecology in mind and as little intervention as possible.

Deep ruby. Ripe, concentrated aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, boysenberry, tobacco, fresh rose, iron and sexy oak spices. Deep and lush, with striking sweetness and big but finely buffed tannins framing the sweet dark berry, mocha and floral pastille flavors. Gentle acids provide energy and precision, giving elegance to this powerful, tangy wine. Finishes youthfully taut. 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

This harmonious red marries ripe fruit and firm tannins, with blackberry, coffee and mineral notes. Balanced and concentrated, but needs time to bloom. Best after 2007. 460 cases made." (11/06) (Sep/Oct 06) 90 points Wine Spectator

The 2004 Clos Figueres, from the vineyard’s older vines, is a knockout starting with its saturated purple color, intense nose of vanilla, spice box, blackberries and blueberry liqueur, and layered, concentrated flavors. Full-bodied, with ripe tannins and a very long finish, this showy effort should evolve splendidly for 5-7 years and drink well for 10-15 years thereafter. 93 points; Wine Advocate