Clos Mogador Priorat 2008
Robert Parker93 points
Opaque purple. Explosive aromas of red and dark berry preserves, cola, incense and potpourri, with smoke and mineral overtones. Deeply pitched black raspberry and cherry flavors show striking clarity and power, with a zesty mineral quality adding lift and cut. Manages to be both powerful and lithe, and finishes with outstanding thrust and mineral-driven persistence. I've found recent vintages of this wine to be more delineated and agile than those of the early 2000s.
Critic Scores & reviews
"Three recent vintages bought us up to date. The 2008 Clos Mogador has a very fine bouquet of blackberry, blueberry and violet with great delineation and poise. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy, coarse tannins that neatly juxtapose the core of sweet dark fruit. With impressive tension and poise, this is an excellent Priorat for long-term aging. Drink 2014-2022"
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Spain is definitely one of the new-world players to keep an eye on. It is the land of old-vines, american oak and sherry! The main varieties grown in Spain are Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) in the reds, and Airén, Viura/Macabeo, Verdejo and Albarino for the whites. Lesser grown whites include Palomino. Other reds successfully cultivated include Carignan, Mourvedre and Mencia.
Although Spain can be quite a warm country, the vast majority of vineyards are 600m or so above sea level, so the cooler nights allow the grapes to develop full colour and acidity.
Rioja is undoubtedly the long-standing king of all the Spanish wine regions, where Tempranillo and Garnacha are commonly blended. However more recently many more regions have come to the forefront of interest. Ribera Del Duero is producing excellent Tempranillo blends rivalling those coming out of Rioja. Jerez in the South is the home of the fortified wine Sherry.
Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. These include:
- Denominación de Origen Calificada (formerly called DOCa) Priorat calls itself DOQ for Denominació d'Origen Qualificada in Catalan and has a track record of consistent quality and is meant to be a step above DO level.
- Denominación de Origen (DO)- Used for mainstream-quality wine regions. Nearly two thirds of the total vineyard area in Spain is within the boundaries of a DO region.
- Vino de Calidad Producido en Región Determinada (VCPRD) - This is somewhat of a stepping stone to DO status.
- Vinos de la Tierra (VdIT) - A level similar to France's vin de pays system, where the regions are much larger.
- Vino de Mesa (VdM)- The equivalent of 'table wines' from France or Italy
Priorat is a small wine region in Catalonia in Spain’s northeast corner. The region is known for its esteemed, intensely-flavoured red wines. This mountainside area enjoys long, hot, and dry summers with little annual rainfall. These are ideal grapegrowing conditions for the region’s primary – and late-ripening – grapes: Garnacha (or Grenache) and Cariñena (or Carignan). Almost all Priorat red wines contain some measure of these two grapes. In the best expressions of Priorat wines, expect aromas of red and black fruit, including redcurrant, red plum, black plum, black cherry, and blackcurrant. Toasty notes from new French oak are also often present. On the palate, you’ll find some minerality owing to the local licorella red-slate and mica soils, as well as saline and spice, such as cardamom and cinnamon. The wines are typically deep-coloured, with high tannin levels, moderate acidity, and high alcohol levels (usually 14% or higher ABV).
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About the brand Clos Mogador
Rene Barbier is the winemaker behind Clos Mogador and it is he who has conferred worldwide recognition to Priorat. He has enabled this region on the wild hills above Tarragona (near the northeast coast of Spain) to become one of the most prestigious vineyards in Spain.
Thanks to this Frenchman (originally from the Cotes-du-Rhone), who settled here in the 1980s, Priorat has now become one of the country’s most renowned wine regions. Housed in an old property that he bought at Gratallops, he created his own vineyard in this region known for its shale land. About 15 years ago, this village comprised of around one hundred inhabitants, now there are more than a thousand.
Rene Barbier studied in Burgundy, then at the University of Bordeaux before numerous stints across France, notably at Chateau Petrus! In 1989, he harvested his first grapes, which came after ten years of hard work - during which he combined his work selling wine during the week with his passion of developing his vineyards and building his house on the weekends. In order to produce the best wine, Barbier employs new technologies while also building and maintaining his diverse wine knowledge. Attention to detail is taken to the extreme with his estate, promoting biodiversity by planting fruit trees, almond trees, olive trees and flowers between the vines. During harvest, he determines the exact timing for pruning each plant. Even better the harvested grapes are sorted by hand, one by one, before moving them into a vertical manual press, more than a century old that was recovered from an old cellar!