A visit to the Clos Mogador
In the late 1970s, René Barbier III and his wife, Isabelle Meyer sought out a new path in Priorat. Starting in an old warehouse outside of Gratallops for a cellar, with several friends they began replanting terraces and recuperating old ones to eventually have their first release in 1989 as Clos Mogador. This name comes from a novel written by an aunt named, Élisabeth Barbier called, “Les Gens de Mogador” (“The people of Mogador”) which chronicles the rise and fall of a family from near Avignon in France on an imaginary estate called, Mogador.
Like many of the Big Five original wineries in Priorat, Clos Mogador didn’t offer public tours officially. But they changed their minds a little while back when then realized that while not giving tours to the public, they were given tours all the time anyways and why not make it a more structured aspect for fans of their wines. While working on our new Priorat guide, we tagged along for a tour that was given by René Barbier III. It started out with piling in to one of the minibuses that they have to drive around the vineyards. It was a windy day and while the scenery was brilliant and the sun perfect, we and this group of Brazilians mainly huddled in the minibus while René talked about the history and what they’ve been doing with their resplendent terraces over the years.
Once back to the winery, we followed along for the tour of the cellar going through their various production rooms where they’ve been making vintages for the last two and a half decades. It’s a medley of different systems that have all had their place at various points throughout the years. They’re always wanting to try new things as shown by a couple of concrete “eggs” in one corner for aging.
We finished up with their rather striking barrel aging room that’s set against the slate bedrock and then René took us upstairs for the tasting. It was a great mix of their various wines, including the “Vuit” project that’s comprised of eight people making wine in Priorat who come together to make this one wine. Below is the review of their flagship wine and for the rest, check out their very extensive profile in the guide.
Clos Mogador 2008 is the first and so far the only certified “Vi de Finca” in Spain, a similar certification to that of Grand Cru in France. It has dark, sultry fruits with a touch of prune to it in the nose. Light on the palate and elegant as hell, it dances across the fruits elements. The body is meaty, nearly chewy, but stops just short before bringing up the lingering acids in the finish with floral, violet hints coming in to play as it decants. 14.5% 60€
Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR