Wine by the pool

A few weeks ago, and together with some friends (in fact, a wine tasting group, the GMT; more on that another day) and their spouses, we had dinner by the swimming pool. Being in such a company, obviously some selected bottles were opened, coming from Sicily, Ribera de Duero (an excellent Pago de los Capellanes Reserva 2000), Switzerland (a rare and delicious Amigne Fletrie 2000 from the Cave des Tilleuls, Vetroz), and Catalonia.

We started with Taleia, from Castell d’Encus in DO Costers del Segre, already mentioned in this blog. I was interested to taste VRM (Viognier-Roussanne-Marsanne) 2007, from Vins de Taller in DO Empordà, but I was somewhat disappointed; the oak was overwhelming the fruit and spoiling a little a wine with fine potential.

We moved to the reds, including a bottle I brought myself: a magnum of Clos Mogador 1998. Unfortunately, I do not open bottles like this every month; this one was a birthday present from my wife after a particularly memorable tasting session back in 2002. Organized by Vins Noè, we sampled some of the most relevant Priorat wines from the 1998 vintage (reportedly Excellent). Mas Igneus was rated sixth; Clos de l’Obac fifth; Clos Dofí (Finca Dofí nowadays) was considered fourth; Cims de Porrera and Clos Martinet, from the same winemaker (Pérez) but very different, tied for the second place, and the undisputed winner was Clos Mogador. I have lost whatever notes I might have taken that day, but I remember well the enormous structure of the then young Clos Mogador and the broad spectrum of aromas and flavors that filled nose and mouth. At that point in time a discussion thrived: could these Priorat wines (the others were not so different) age well? Clos Mogador 1998 was 40 % Garnatxa, 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20 % Syrah. The high proportion of Garnatxa, according to some, boded ill for the long-term evolution.

I had the pleasure to meet briefly Rene Barbier, Clos Mogador owner and winemaker, a few weeks ago, and his advice was to drink this 1998 soon.

So I was understandably anxious to open this magnum. (One remark: my experience with magnums is that it is a nice bottle size to open with friends, provided it is not too “special”. If so, I find it difficult to convene a group that can really appreciate it. What do you think?)

In the end, all went well. The wine evolution had been beautiful. The mighty young Mogador I remembered had evolved into an elegant, but still full-fleshed gentleman which integrated the rich secondary aromas with the tertiary developed in 10 years in the bottle. Toasted, mineral, spices, coffee. Great aroma evolution after 1 hour in the glass, and a veeeery long finish.

The rest of the evening’s wines were, in my case, a kind of anticlimax. I had treasured this bottle for years, and I had not been disappointed. Only that now I face the traditional dilemma between drinking wines (relatively) young or giving them time to ripen in the bottle with a little more weight in the latter alternative.

Will I be patient enough?