Clos Martinet vertical: today may be a great day…

The lyrics of the song by the local folk singer Joan Manel Serrat were dancing in my head as I drove towards Priorat. This may be a great day…will it? The first steps were clear and had its roots some months before.

When I was visiting Mas Martinet in March, Josep Lluís Pérez, while discussing with him his first wines, made a remark: “We must make a vertical tasting of Clos Martinet!” I agreed heartily, and, with the help of Oleguer from Vins Noè, gathered a group of twelve fortunate wine lovers, including some top bloggers like David González (Adictos a la Lujuria), Jaume Aguadé (Vins de Catalunya) and Ricard Sampere (Els vins que vaig tastant).

Josep Lluís Pérez

We first met in Mas Martinet with Josep Lluís and then visited his Serra Alta vineyard. I had been there in March; the sight was more astonishing then, with all the iron rings plainly in view, but now it was beautiful with all the green shoots blooming.

Serra Alta in March

Serra Alta in May

There, by the plot, we could enjoy an impromptu master class about vineyard management by Josep Lluís. His absolutely scientific approach (he had figures and ratios for everything) left us speechless, especially those with scientific background. He spoke, among other things, of vigour, production limitation, watering, leaf surface, bag-in-box wines…always with this scientific yet practical approach.

Some of the happy participants
A phone call from his daughter Sara pulled us back to reality and the winery. There we met her laying the last glasses for the tasting.

The grapes-to-be
I (most of us, perhaps) had several goals in mind:

  • The most obvious, enjoy a bunch of excellent wines 
  • Meet Sara and Josep Lluís and benefit from their knowledge and personality 
  • Last but not least: check whether great Priorat wines age well. This was a big discussion from the beginning of Priorat’s new era, and many voices had cast doubts on the aging potential of wines with a high proportion of Garnatxa.
Let us start with the wines.

The first was 1990. This was in fact still a wine made together with Rene Barbier, Alvaro Palacios and Carles Pastrana, and bottled under different labels for each of them. Very much alive, with utter elegance.

The second bottle was 1993, the second year than Josep Lluís made his wine independently. I was a little bit disappointed; I had looked forward to tasting again a 1992, the first Clos Martinet I had, but never look a gift horse etc…And 1993 did compensate: big, flowery, long, one of the best.

1996, said Josep Lluís, was his last wine. Sara answered back instantly: “It was my first, not your last. You still have a lot of wines in you!” It was great to witness the play between the two personalities, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not; after all, as explained in my previous post, if he is the scientist, she is the philosopher, or perhaps the mystic (thanks, Oriol!).
The lineup
1998 was a wine in turmoil. Sara explained that, after some 12 years, their wines undergo a transformation from big, youthful puppies to more elegant, sedate adults. 1998 had just done this, and showed still many primary and secondary aromas, but the tertiaries had started to appear. A great wine nevertheless; racing with 2000 in the preference of many.

2000 was perhaps the most appetizing for me. Still young, very fresh, fruity, big, but starting to migrate to the senior status.

2004 was in comparison young and, although it showed plenty of potential, needed time to show its hand.

As Sara and Josep Lluís explained, with aging, after the twelfth year transformation, wines smoothed the differences between vintages and tended to homogenize, showing the minerality and common terroir underneath. 

I have now little doubt that Priorat wines can age well, and will have to seriously plan ahead to be able to taste these memorable wines at a riper age than I am doing now.

Explanations by the two winemakers were both precise and emotional. They remembered the details of each year in terms of weather and coupage (there was a trend to increase Carinyena and decrease Cabernet) and seemed very happy to share these memories and their wines with us. It was a real pleasure to be invited to this event, which will be one of my most remarkable wine memories so far.

Sara and Josep Lluís

But the day was not over. In the afternoon, after a quick but rewarding visit to Mas Sinén to taste, just before bottling, their Coster 2009, Mas Sinén Negre 2009 and a surprise they have up their sleeve (I am looking forward to it!), I was back home in time to see FC Barcelona beat Manchester Utd to our fourth Champions League title.

It sure was a great day!!


1 comment:

  1. Dóna gust rellegir-ho i recordar la jornada.... Salut!.