Nelin, Clos Mogador, Gratallops, Priorat DOQ, Spain, 2012, 15% abv, 30€

I made the arrangement for a tour and tasting at world renowned Clos Mogador several months prior to our January 2015 arrival in tiny Gratallops, clos mog 5population a mere 260.

As we walked through the gate, I wondered aloud, “Do you think René Barbier might actually be around today when we’re here?” I immediately answered myself, “No…I’m sure he has people to do that for him…”

He was more than just there – he and wife Isabelle Meyer were in the office, giving tours in Catalan and Spanish and good naturedly posing for pictures with wine geeks.  clos mog 4

Two other visitors who arrived too late to take part in our vineyard tour with Katja-I-came-for-wine-but-stayed-for-love Simon, went in the van on a wildly precipitous, heart palpitating ride led by Barbier himself (apparently his driving skills are, umm, suspect).  I’m not sure they benefited from arriving late or paid for it.  Either way, they looked a little pale when they finally got back to the bodega.

So many have written at great length about René Barbier, about how he, along clos mog 2with colleagues including Alvaro Palacios and Daphne Glorian resurrected Priorat’s traditional wines and took them to the world.  We visited Daphne Glorian’s home a few days later and heard similar stories.

Others have written about their infamous tours.  Their own website is a treasure trove of information.  I can’t offer any tidbits that aren’t already common knowledge.

clos mog 3But during our three hour stay, the stories abounded – the side-splitting tales of Barbier Sr’s harrowing driving ‘skills,’ playing chicken on the dangerously narrow roads with René Barbier, Jr, the continued use of the old Basque 1890s era press, and hearing how with one mule, it takes one and a half months to harvest their vineyards.  We also went out to the hills to see the llicorella soils in action where rosemary, fennel and thyme grow in between the vines, some with roots extending down 20m, alongside wheat and 30 species of wildflowers.

All the wines we tasted were delicious, but we were struck immensely by Mogador’s white.  The Nelin is named for their daughter, Céline, and was aptly referred to as, “A white wine from black soil.”clos mog 8

Interestingly, it was poured last – after the structured, star anise, soy sauce and tar in the Manyetes 2011, and the classic, blackcurrant, berry, thyme, sage and violet-tinged Mogador 2012 – because “We like to show it stands up to the reds.”  And that is saying something, because it is strong, structured, and does stand up – yet it also exudes a softness through the White Garnaxa base with Macabeu and Escanyavelles.

The Nelin 2012 is a medium shade of lemon with a nose that shows Chenin Blanc-like minerals and apples with soft Meyer lemon, orange blossom, and an aromatic fennel and dill.  There’s more of the same on the palate along with a honeyed expression and although the alcohol is 15%, it’s not hot.clos mog 1

It’s a striking wine – creamy and waxy with the fruit, slate and herbs all layered atop each other – standing, proudly, on its own.

WSET Very Good Plus






About winellama

I love wine...and finally decided to do something about it.
This entry was posted in Escanyavelles, Macabeu, Spain, Viura / White Rioja, WHITE, White Grenache / Garnacha / Garnaxa and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nelin, Clos Mogador, Gratallops, Priorat DOQ, Spain, 2012, 15% abv, 30€

  1. bnutt911 says:

    That might be your best post yet!


    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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