Clos Mogador 2010 (Priorat)
This wine evoked that deliciously familiar sense of raw excitement that we experience when tasting a great wine for the first time. It was like tasting Clos Mogador anew. That's not to diminish, in any way, the decade (or so) of vintages we have previously shipped. The remarkable qualities of the 2010 Clos Mogador is clearly a reflection of a terrific vintage for old-vine fruit in Gratallops combined with the Barbiers’ new, more pared-back methodology. In short the 2010 is an insanely delicious and atmospheric Mogador. The style of the 2010 is silkier, more aromatic and more rounded than last year's wine, calling to mind Barbier Jr's work with Galician Mencía (at Domino de Bibei for example). Born from rough, stony soils in the Gratallops high country, this is drenched with intense, layered, dark-fruit notes and offers stunning palate saturation. The flavours are infused with garrigue, soy and sexy, dark cherry fruits that are shot through with that smoky slate sensation that couldn’t come from anywhere else than Gratallops. You couldn't describe the wine as ethereal, but it's certainly the most graceful young Mogador to date.
Barbier's wines are part of a rare clique of wines whose personalities have become absolutely indistinguishable from their point of origin. The Clos Mogador vineyards are planted on very steep terraces forming a gigantic natural amphitheatre above the Siurana River, with an average altitude of 450 metres above sea level. The vines here are interplanted with olive and fruit trees and the soil is pure llicorella (slate). There is a range of vines planted in the vineyard and the exact blend varies with the vintage. It is always predominantly Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There are also small parcels of Pinot Noir, Merlot and Mourvèdre that can make their way in to the blend. The Garnacha vines are 80+ years old while the other varieties were planted in the 1980s. The poor soils and the fact that the vineyard is dry grown results in staggeringly low yields of approximately 9hl/ha.
Some key points regarding the winemaking: The wine is ‘basket pressed’ in an old, repurposed olive press. Ageing takes place mostly in 500lt French oak casks for one year with racking by gravity approximately every three months. The Syrah is aged in vat to maintain the lively, fresh fruit flavours. After blending, the wine spends the second winter in vat. No stainless steel is used here, only fibreglass and wooden vats. The doors of the cellar are kept open in winter to encourage the precipitation of tartrates. Unfined and unfiltered, the wine is bottled in the spring or autumn of the second year after the harvest.
"René Barbier (Junior) kindly put together a blend of the five barrels that will go to constitute the 2010 Clos Mogador. It has a stricter, fresher bouquet than the 2009, with great minerality and sparkling precision. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and wonderful purity. It exhibits notes of dark cherries, crushed stone, slate and touches of thyme and white pepper towards the finish, which has immense precision and focus. This is going to be a razor-sharp Clos Mogador – do not wait to place your order!" (94-96) points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate #200 Apr 2012
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