A YEAR AT CLOS MOGADOR WINERY
René Barbier and his wife, Isabelle Meyer are the owners of this emblematic winery in the heart of Priorat wine country. Based in Gratallops, the winery is set amongst some of the best vineyards of the area. René was born and grew up in the nearby city of Tarragona (40 mins drive from Priorat) and at an early age had already fallen in love with this beautiful area. In the mid 1970s, he convinced a group of friends and aquaintances (Josep Lluis Pérez, Daphne Glorian, Carles Pastrana and later on, Àlvaro Palacios) to join him in his Priorat adventure to make quality wines with the exceptional grapes of the area.
VisitPriorat.com will be following Clos Mogador, starting from right now, with the 2008 harvest which started last 29th August, 2008.
Harvest Time at Clos Mogador
The first variety to be harvested was the Pinot Noir (unusual here in the Priorat) and other experimental varieties such as Marsan, Roussane and Viognier. The Syrah of Clos Manyetes vineyard was also harvested at this time. The grapes are taken in plastic boxes of around 20kg to the winery at first light when it is still cool. As the day gets hotter, the grapes are taken to a specially prepared cold room/refrigerator for a few hours before they are taken into the winery. In the vineyard the experienced grape-pickers silently advance row by row and the tractor waits to collect the grapes.
Renè and his two sons keep a careful eye on every vineyard as they patrol their lands checking ripeness so as to know where they will be moving the grape-pickers onto next. The winery is ready with the open top barrels waiting in file and the sorting table washed down in anticipation.
The sorting table is a vital part of equipment for the Clos Mogador team. Two or three employees check the clusters as they go in and then six more check the individual berries as they come out after being de-stemmed. Once sorted, the grapes are put into 300L oak barrels according to their variety for the first fermentation. As shown below, the fermenting grapes are carefully controlled with several cap punch-downs per day.
Click here to see more photos of the 2008 harvest
The malolactic or second fermentation took place from around the beginning of November to the beginning of December. Towards the middle of November the vats were emptied and the skins were pressed. At Clos Mogador, this is an interesting operation as René uses an old basket press which he and his team lovingly care for as they firmly believe its use leads to exceptional wines. Here are some photographs of this time when Roger Guinau was working the press.
Click here to see more photos of working the basket press
At the beginning of January 2009 (some work started at the end of December, 2008), the wine was passed to barrels according to the moon cycle. (See photo). The moon is an important part of life at Clos Mogador and its cycles are strictly followed whenever the team has to intervene in the wine-making process. Barrels used are 60% new French oak (the only type of oak used at Clos Mogador) and the other 40% of barrels are used for only two wines and then sold.
We will be returning to Clos Mogador shortly to visit their vineyards and see how spring is progressing. After a week of rain, the wild flowers promise to be a treat. Please watch this space....