2020 Clos I Terrasses Laurel, Gratallops, Priorat, Spain – WA96

2020 Clos I Terrasses Laurel, Gratallops, Priorat, Spain – WA96



I know many of you have been waiting for my tasting notes and assessment of the 2020 Laurel Priorat from one of the region’s pioneers and most iconic producers Clos I Terrasses, best noted for Clos Erasmus.  So there is good news on all fronts!  That is, the Laurel is definitely up to the high bar it has set in previous vintages, and although our stock is sold out, the importer has bless us with another delivery set for this Friday.

If you are a Priorat fanatic (or not!) this deeply saturated, dark ruby red is a MUST purchase, especially when compared to the lofty price tag for Clos Erasmus.  Actually, where some previous Laurels from warmer vintages have pushed ripeness levels, the 2020 shows more restraint and carries its muscular structure with greater definition and finesse.  Kind of like an NFL wide receiver vs. a middle linebacker!  The aromatics are redolent and compelling and show off the region’s signature llicorella “ditto ink” minerality, but nuances grow with airing.  Palate impressions of dark black raspberry have freshness, intensity and are mouth filling.  A firm, supporting tannin is comforting and well-integrated allowing for current enjoyment, but more evolution. The finish goes on like the “energizer bunny”.  Please be assured the 96 point rating below by Wine Advocate is a fair assessment.

The incredible sibling or second label of the iconic and legendary Clos I Terrasses Clos Erasmus, produced by one of the five original new founding pioneers of the region Daphne Glorian, and considered a Grand Cru of the Priorat region.  Just rated 96 points by Wine Advocate’s Luis Gutierrez.

The 2020 “Laurel” is a blend of mostly Garnacha (73%), with supporting Syrah (12%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).  Destemmed, hand sorted, and slightly crushed, the grapes are separately fermented in wooden and concrete vats for four weeks.  After blending the wine is matured in a diversity of vessels including upright barrels, amphorae, concrete eggs and used barriques. Always deeply colored with ripe, flamboyant, dark fruits, Laurel continues to express Priorat’s llicorella minerality with freshness and energy at a reasonable value.

96 points, Wine Advocate (LG) – “2020 was a challenging year that gave them a lot of work in the vineyard, but it it paid off. The 2020 Laurel feels very elegant, balanced and fresh, a little lighter perhaps, with perfectly ripe tannins, a little in line with 2016 or 2013. It might be a little unusual for the house style or perhaps a slight change, as they are gradually going for softer vinifications; you don’t really need to extract in Priorat, because the wines are powerful enough on their own. It’s still extremely young and has a lactic touch (that blows off with a bit of time in the glass); it was only bottled at the end of May 2022, three months before I tasted it. Even if it’s the second wine here, it’s a wine that needs a little bit of time and improves in the bottle. Having said that, the 2020s feel more open, expressive and approachable than the 2019s, which are more tannic and powerful while the 2020s feel a little more Burgundian if you like. This has to be one of the finest vintages of Laurel so far. After some time in the glass, the aromatics of the Syrah (which was perhaps a little more this year, some 12% versus 8% in 2019) made an appearance—violets, smoked bacon. Daphne Glorian told me that everything was easy, that the wine was expressive and open from day one and that the fermentations were smooth. There are some 19,000 bottles of this. Drink 2023-2030” – September 2022


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