Daphne Glorian-Solomon

Daphne Glorian-Solomon

Clos Erasmus (Enóloga/Winemaker & Owner)

Being adventuresome led her to the Priorat.

The morning we met with the quite famous and equally modest Daphne Glorian-Solomon of Clos Erasmus, she was scheduled to be off to Paris in a few hours. She travels a great deal, so we were pleased and grateful to be able to meet with her. She hosted us at her comfortable home in Grattalops, and we soon felt like we were talking with a long-time friend.

Winemaking was not an intentional career path for Daphne, who is French by birth and grew up in Switzerland. She trained as a lawyer and received her degree from the University of Paris in the mid-1980s when she was in her early twenties. As fate would have it, she was offered an intriguing job before she could begin practicing law. A noted English wine merchant living in Paris hired her to look after things while he went off to New Zealand to get married. He also asked her to select wines in Burgundy for his customers. Daphne found “that she loved it.” She was “tasting all the time and totally enjoying being in the wineries.”

A few years later, Daphne met René Barbier, the aforementioned Catalan winemaker, at a fair and he told her about his vision for a new project in the Priorat, a historic wine region that was virtually unknown at the time. René had been selling his grapes to the coop and wanted to begin making wine from his grapes. He approached friends and encouraged them to buy their own plots of land, with the goal of building a winery where they all could share the space and craft their own wines under the same roof. Daphne and three other friends joined in with René on the project. She stayed at Rene’s project until 2000, but with the group’s production increasing, “the winery was bursting at the seams,” and she decided to “go it alone.”

Starting Clos Erasmus with two hectares of vineyards in 1989, Daphne slowly added additional plots to reach 10 hectares in 2004. She planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Garnacha vines to complement the existing old-vine Garnacha plantings and farmed them biodynamically. She basically learned her winemaking “on the job” under the guidance of René and others. To quote Daphne, “I was not ambitious, I wanted fun. If you are not afraid of competing, you can do your own thing.”

The Wines. Daphne crafts two wines: Clos Erasmus, her flagship wine, and Laurel, a softer, lighter wine. Clos Erasmus was awarded 100 points by Parker for the 2004 and 2005 vintages, a result that brought a good deal of attention to the wines of the Priorat. The recognition also established Daphne’s reputation as a leading winemaker in Spain and internationally. Her winery’s current production is 2000 cases — 250 cases of Erasmus and the rest being Laurel. Her wines continue to garner high ratings. For example, the Wine Advocate described her 2013 Clos Erasmus as “magnificent” and among the top three wines from Spain in 2016.

American importer Eric Solomon, the owner of European Cellars located in North Carolina, tasted the first vintage of Clos Erasmus in 1990 and immediately contacted Daphne to purchase all that was still available! Little did she know that this interest would lead to their meeting in person a few years later and then marrying in 1997. Daphne now lives in North Carolina several months of the year.

As she rushed out the door to catch her plane, Daphne gave us bottles of her wine we had been tasting—the 2012 Clos Erasmus and the 2012 Laurel. They had been opened for wine writers from the Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator who had been visiting earlier that morning. It was fortuitous timing for us — both of these amazing wines were gifted to us!