The wine shows an opaque black, purple colour and an intense complex bouquet of ripe fruit, wild herbs, toasted bread, spices and smoke. The palate is massive and well balanced with a fat richness, a dense structure of velvety tannins and a powerful, lively acidity. Flavours of cristalised fruit, pepper, chocolate, coffee and a whole panapoly of spices and herbs. On the long finish there are the unique mineral tones that make Priorat so special.
The blend of the top-of-the-range and flagship red changes with the vintage. The 2014 Clos Mogador is 49% Garnacha, 25% Cariñena, 16% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyard that names the wine (and the winery), planted on llicorella slate soils at 350 meters in altitude. Eighty percent of the vines are 25 to 35 years old. It fermented with indigenous yeasts and had a 35- to 45-day maceration, followed by an élevage in 300-liter barrels and 2,000-liter foudres that lasted 18 months. They introduced oak foudres in 2011, which is the big change, and they use less and less barriques now. They are also using more and more Cariñena and Garnacha, but it depends on the vintage. All of the more recent wines have less tannins from the oak and less Cabernet Sauvignon, and they feel more elegant and balanced. There is great harmony on the palate, with very fine tannins and a velvety texture with great seriousness. This will develop at a very slow pace in bottle. They picked the grapes before the rains, and it's a concentrated year with nice extract but very good acidity. 31,000 bottles were filled in late June 2016.
René Barbier led the original Priorat movement, proving that exciting and unique fine wines could be made in this forgotten corner of Spanish Catalonia. At Clos Mogador, he nursed back to life abandoned old vineyards planted on steep schist hillsides, where the ancient Grenache and Carignan vines had learnt to struggle against the aridity by sending roots 25 metres down in search of water and nutrients, yielding less than 10 hectolitres per hectare of intense, concentrated and supercomplex juice. The estate became firmly established as the number one address in the appellation, with a bulging press book to back this claim. But Clos Mogador is much more, a thriving ecosystem and a celebration of biodiversity, a blueprint for living "terroir."
Robert Parker once said of Clos Mogador that the wines are "stunning examples of what Spain can produce but so rarely does". This is more true now than ever, because compared with the large numbers of ambitious "alto espreccion" Spanish wines that have come on stream these last few years, Mogador has not just concentration and complexity, but also energy, vitality and a genuine soul.
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