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2013 Laurel, Clos Erasmus

2013 Laurel, Clos Erasmus

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Laurel is the ‘second wine’ of Clos Erasmus is startlingly good in its own right, and would certainly be one of the top rated wines of Priorat as a standalone wine.  Made from (mainly) Garnacha with Syrah and Cabernet, Laurel also includes some 'declassified' Terrasses barrels; this wine exudes quality and even though, personally, I'd wait at least two or three years before tucking into it I suspect few will be able to resist this 2013 that long.   The nose is quite intense, with ripe black fruits, whole red berries, touch of sweet spice.  Powerful, rich, ripe tannins line the mouth but the wine, although concentrated, has finesse to it - blue plum, damson, whole berry, liquorice and spice - youthful but very appealing.  The finish is long, clean and balanced.  Stunning quality and intensity. At this price it is a steal.

Daphne Glorian, a French-born lawyer, came across the ancient, terraced vineyard called Las Escalas back in the late 80s and from that, and three other similar sites (a total of only two hectares!), created Clos Erasmus. The terraces were repaired and restored, and vines planted alongside the old vines of Grenache that were already there. Yields are tiny – as low as 20 hectolitres per hectare in a good harvest - and production of Clos Erasmus is a miserly 140 cases a year. By way of comparison, Chateau Latour produces about 18,000 cases and even Domaine de la Romanée-Conti about 450 cases. The very talented Ester Nin is the consultant oenologist here, a strong believer in biodynamic cultivation Ester is convinced that they have not yet seen the full potential of Clos Erasmus yet realised (bodes well!). The microclimate here is warmer than many other parts of the region and the fruit produced is of quite exceptional quality and intensity which is reflected in the wine. In the past I have been quite scathing about some prices charged for some wines in Priorat – just because you have invested a lot and parked a winery in Priorat it doesn’t make the wine great (or even good), but when a wine like Clos Erasmus comes along it can be taken for granted that the price is going to be very high but once the process of tasting has started all the talk of money drifts away, and one can only marvel at what nature can produce.

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