Mas Martinet (formerly Clos Martinet) was founded by one of the historically noted five pioneer producers of the region’s re-emergence in the late 1980s. Once phylloxera invaded the region 100 years prior, the population literally deserted the area as there was little way to make a living except for a little mining and nut production. The steeply terraced, unirrigated, old Grenache (Garnatxa) and Carignane (Carinyena/Carinena) bush vines struggled to exist in the arid, harsh and unrelenting environment of schist (Illorcello), but were neglected and most died. Alvaro Palacios (L’Ermita) and René Barbier (Clos Mogador) led the charge to rediscover the surviving old vines and nurse them back to health. Collectively, about 550 hectares were saved. Joining them was José Luis Perez (Clos Martinet), Daphne Glorian (Clos Erasmus), and Carles Pastrana (Clos de l’Obac) All of this activity centered around the tiny village of Gratallops which is still ground zero for Priorat and has a population of about 250 people on a good Saturday night.
We sampled from 6oz vial, and felt there was great terroir transparency expressed in both the aromas and flavor. “Illcorella” damp ditto/mimeograph ink! All the varietal components fit seamlessly. Muscles flexed, but elegant and restrained. A real beauty! 65% Garnatxa, 20% Syrah, 10% Carinyena, 4% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon.
“The 2017s feel relaxed, something unusual in Priorat. The 2017 Clos Martinet has seen a change, as they stopped using the sorting table and stopped using the pied de cuve, because the harvest was very easy. They harvested in August—the earliest ever until 2018—and they didn’t have time to do anything; so, they put the grapes in the vats and let them ferment, and that’s what they have been doing ever since. They feel that there is less manipulation of the grapes now, and that could have helped to make wines more relaxed. This is truly harmonious and expressive, elegant and powerful, not showing any heat—in fact, it’s showing very much freshness. 14,000 bottles were filled in February 2019.” – 95 points, Wine Advocate (LG) – August 2019