Description / History

In early 2000 a handful of owners of adjacent vineyards proposed to sell their holdings to Clos Figueras. The transaction took place without difficulty and gave the estate access to some old Grenache and Carignan vines which have since been an important ingredient for the prestigious Clos Figueres , the principal wine of the estate. Furthermore the acquisition brought 8 more hectares to the estate, making a total of 18 hectares all in one piece of which 12 are planted. The remainder being olive trees, a small forest and slopes too steep to plant.

Initially the wines were made in the Clos Mogador cellar outside Gratallops. The first wine was just 1200 bottles of our second wine, Font de la Figuera 1999. It was a light wine which was sold and consumed quickly. It was with the 2000 vintage that the first serious wines were made, the  Clos Figueres 2000 and Font de la Figuera Tinto 2000 were highly rated by the specialized press and sold well. With the 2001 vintage, Clos Figueres was awarded 96 points by Robert Parker, putting the estate rapidly in league with the top names of the fast emerging Priorat appellation. In the following years Clos Figueres was awarded no less than 94 points for every vintage with the exception of the 2005 with 96 points.

In early 2002, with space running out at Clos Mogador, an independent vinification cellar was purchased in Gratallops. A disused chicken barn was converted and ready for the 2002 vintage. To help with the costs part of the cellar was rented out  for vinification to two new producers : The Trio Infernal from France and the Osborne family.  For ageing the wines in cask space was rented in an ideal humid underground cellar under the adjacent building.

Priorat

Priorat being close to the ancient Roman capital of the Iberian Peninsula, Tarraco,  ( Tarragona of today), it is no surprise that vineyards have existed in the region for more than 2000 years. It is believed that many of the surviving terraces were initially built by the Romans.

During the middle ages the entire region was dominated by the Carthusian monks at the monastery of Scala Dei, the prior of Scala Dei exercised his authority over 7 villages, hence the name Priorat. The monks controlled the local economy and all cultivations. Apart from the vine this included olive trees, almonds and hazel nuts. Not much else can grow in the poor schistous soils of this Mediterranean enclave.

It was one day July 1997 that René Barbier showed Christopher and his wife Charlotte an abandoned vineyard just north of Gratallops called “Figueres”. The same day the entire Cannan family jumped into their car and followed René to Barcelona. It was on a pavement café beneath Gaudi’s “La Pedrera” building on the Paseo de Gracia that we met a charming widow and school teacher, owner of the vineyard. Negotiations were rapid and easy, land values being very reasonable at the time. By October 1997 the purchase was completed and the hard work commenced. At the outset René Barbier and his vineyard team agreed to take care of the estate which we called Clos Figueras. (“Clos” because it consisted of 10 hectares all in one piece and the prefix to most of the new wines on the Priorat scene and Figueras in honor of the two magnificent fig trees on the property).

Initially the terrain had to be prepared for planting. Having been abandoned for 8 years there was much work to do on the terraces. A grove of centuries old olive trees and a few rows of mostly 20 years old Carignan vines were recuperated but most of the remaining hectares had to be replanted.