Tasting Notes and Vintage Overview from Daphne Glorian:
Clos Erasmus 2019 is very discreet, slowly revealing deep layers of graphite, sour cherries, licorice, a tight texture of silky tannins, the volume expanding to fill the palate entirely and lingering forever.
Blend: 83% Garnatxa, 17% Syrah.
The grapes come from the same parcels year after year, Escales, Aubagues and Socarrats, which are fermented and aged separately. Destemmed, sorted by hand and slightly crushed, the grapes ferment in 10-15 HL wooden vats. The macerations lasted 30-35 days. The malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wines were aged in 228L barrels (50% new).
The 2019 vintage was a spectacular change from the previous one, with little rain during the winter, no more than 136 litres between January and September, a drought which was compounded by an unheard of heatwave in June, with the thermometer registering 42 degrees (107 F.) for almost a week.
But trust the vines of the Priorat. Even though the very high temperatures of the summer hit them hard, they are used to work under harsh conditions and they adapted, returning to their normal thrifty mode.
The resulting volumes were of course almost 20% below those of 2018 but in line with the yields we often get, 18-19 hectolitres per hectare. The harvest started as always at the very end of August, with the syrah, and finished only a few days earlier than usual, by the 18th of September. As was to be expected, the combination of small yields and high temperatures speeded up the ripening process.
The serious and powerful 2019 Clos Erasmus feels quite classical Priorat with notes of graphite black fruit and licorice; it's a solid Priorat with weight concentration and clout. There are still some smoke toast and spice notes from the élevage?100% in barrel some 40% of them new for around 18 months?and the wine always needs a little bit of time in bottle. Despite the 15.5% alcohol the wine comes through as balanced and with freshness there is no heat or sensation of alcohol; you need the tannins and acidity to counterbalance the alcohol and they are doing that here. This is more balsamic aromatic and exuberant. It's showy hedonistic and rich a solid Erasmus. The tannins are still quite present and need some more time to be resolved. 3300 bottles were filled in May 2020. Daphne Glorian and her team are also planting for the future: they replanted Escales her first vineyard in Priorat in 2017/2018 and between 2020 and 2021 she planted over five hectares in Solanes (technically El Lloar) mostly Garnacha and some Syrah with a magnificent view of the village of Gratallops. She bought the property in 2010 but never got around to planting it until now. She needs to increase volumes because there is a lot more demand than supply. I tasted the wines from 2019 and 2020 two challenging vintages that delivered very good wines. 2019 was a drier vintage than 2018 a very dry year (more than warm) that has produced muscular wines that need time in bottle Mediterranean wines from a sunny vintage a vintage Glorian compares with 2012 and 2015. 2020 was the year of mildew but as they farm organically they are constantly working in the vineyards. So they reacted as soon as the mildew appeared but they realized it was a different strain that gave them a lot of work; they treated the vineyards every four days. They ended up losing maybe 10% of the crop but not much more than what she lost in 2019 from the heat wave. The wines from 2020 benefited from the spring rains in terms of freshness and the wines are superbly balanced and have lots of finesse. Even if I didn't taste the 2021 vintage we discussed it a bit; she told me there will be more wine and that the wines will have a different profile that is more delicate lighter and more floral as there was more rain and yields were. I look forward to them...