Folly takes many forms. Driven by whim, restlessness, or passion, it typically marks a pivot in one’s life that only […]Keep Reading
Folly takes many forms. Driven by whim, restlessness, or passion, it typically marks a pivot in one’s life that only the benefit of hindsight can judge. In 1988 Daphne Glorian spent her entire life’s savings on 17 terraces of vines situated in a wooded hollow just outside the village of Gratallops. Her accomplices in this folly? – René Barbier, Álvaro Palacios, Carles Pastrana, and Josep Lluís Pérez. Together they pooled their resources and newly-acquired vineyards, settling in a region rich in history but without a reputation for fine wines.
In 1989 the modern Priorat was born: one wine but five different labels, each of which would become known worldwide: Clos Mogador, Clos Dofi, Clos Martinet, Clos de l’Obac, and Clos Erasmus. Clos Erasmus is fittingly named after the famed humanist and Renaissance author Desiderius Erasmus, a favorite writer of Daphne and her humanist father, and in whose timeless work – In Praise of Folly – can Daphne’s hard work in the Priorat be fully understood.
Born in Paris but of Swiss-German ancestry, Daphne Glorian spent her early years shuttling between Switzerland and France before settling in Gratallops. “I like to make lists of what needs to be done each day, and in Spain, I’m happy if I manage a quarter of it,” is how Daphne explains her life now in Spain.
While studying law in Paris in her 20s, Daphne first discovered fine wine while working as the office manager for Kit Stevens MW. What was simply a job to make ends meet would soon become her advocation. Shortly after taking the job with Kit, she met René Barbier and Álvaro Palacios, who were both so passionate about a place called the Priorat that she decided she needed to visit and see it for herself.
The early years of making wine in the Priorat were not easy. The rugged landscape and poor soils yielded only small quantities of wine, and the region was unknown outside of Catalunya. From its start, Clos Erasmus has been a wine made from younger vines blessed with being planted in the right spot. Farming has always been sustainable, and with the addition of Ester Nin as Daphne’s viticulturist in 2004, Clos i Terrasses has been converted to biodynamic farming.
In her early vintages, Daphne relied on her friends René Barbier and Álvaro Palacios for advice, but guided by her instincts and her training in Burgundy, where she first discovered wine, her wines have evolved to become some of the most sought-after references for the Priorat – and along the way, some of the most desired wines in the world. Despite having received multiple 100-point scores from top critics, Daphne has kept Clos i Terrasses modest in size and has not dramatically increased her production of Clos Erasmus, preferring to create a second, equally expressive wine, Laurel.
Today Daphne’s property goes by the name Clos i Terrasses to recognize the Clos upon which her fame was established and the terraces that she currently farms. The original folly, Escales is a 1.7-hectare parcel planted originally on seventeen terraces carved out of a steep slope and surrounded by woods. North-facing, its seemingly inauspicious aspect creates the perfect conditions for the slow ripening of Garnatxa. The top-most seven terraces of Escales were regraded to costers in 2019 as the Syrah originally planted here began to die due to the heat. This new portion of Escales was subsequently regrafted to Garnatxa, making this site now 100% Garnatxa.
In the early 1990s, Daphne added Aubagues and Socarrats to her holdings. Aubagues was once partially terraced, but this section was regraded to costers and replanted with Garnatxa in 2013. Now totaling 2.5 hectares, Aubagues has a diverse range of exposures that span two ridge tops, with Garnatxa (56%) planted in the exposed, warmer parts of the vineyard and Syrah (44%) on the relatively more sheltered north-facing slopes.
Socarrats is 3.12 hectares and planted with Garnatxa (62%), her few remaining vines of Cabernet Sauvignon (28%), and Syrah (10%). This site runs up and over a hillside from southeast to northwest. Les Vaques is a north-facing part of Socarrats purchased in 1998, and where Daphne has an additional 1.4 hectares of Garnatxa planted in 2018 & 2019.
Guinarderes, acquired in 1998, is 2.9 hectares in size. Facing south and southeast, this is her warmest site and the first to be harvested. Guinarderes is planted with Garnatxa (60%) and Syrah (40%).
Purchased in 2011, Solanes is a steep 11-hectare plot situated at the foot of a dramatic sandstone butte in the village of El Lloar. In 2020 Daphne planted 1.72 hectares of Garnatxa on the south-facing portion, while the corresponding northeast-facing slope would be ideal for Syrah in the future. Despite its size, 2 hectares are already planted with olive trees – the source for her olive oil – leaving only about 4.3 hectares suitable for future planting.
Together these vineyards form Clos i Terrasses. A modest-sized estate by the standards of the modern Priorat, Daphne strives to preserve the ideals that led her to her original folly – the unique and distinct character of Clos Erasmus made possible through a strict selection of sites, fruit, and the barrels in which this nascent wine is aged – as well as the creation of a separate cuvée, Laurel which has its own unique personality and terroir expression.Close