About Venus La Universal: Husband and wife team Sara Pérez and René Barbier (Fils) are the children of two of the great pioneers of the Priorat D.O., Josep Lluis Pérez of Mas Martinet and René Barbier of Clos Mogador. Sara and René are both very well respected vignerons in their own right, so it seemed natural that they should start a project together. For this project, they decided to stake their claim not in Priorat, but in the slightly sleepier D.O. of Monsant.
René and Sara have taken the goddess as their inspiration for this project. One of their stated goals is “to interpret femininity through a bottle of wine”. This might seem an odd choice for a bodega that elaborates Grenache- and Carignan-based wines in Southern Cataluña, but it makes sense once you taste. These are incredibly elegant, refined, sensual expressions of Montsant, with restrained alcohol levels and tremendous texture.
The grapes for the wines come from an approximate total of four hectares of vineyards which are owned by four different grape-growing families in Falset as well as another small plot owned by Venus. One could call Venus a négociant project, but it is more accurate to say that it is a partnership between these four families and René and Sara. Venus is these small growers’ only client, so their vineyards are farmed in accordance with the rigorous ecological standards set by the couple. The grapes for Dido come from the Falset area, from vineyards with soils based on decomposed granite called sauló. These soils are poor in organic matter and they contribute to producing grapes with great ripeness and fruit flavors. The grapes for Venus come from clay-calcareous soils between Marçà and Guiamets. These soils encourage a slow, elegant and complex ripeness.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate:
“The eponymous red 2017 Venus La Universal is a blend of old vine carignan and Garnacha from 6 plots between the villages of Falset and Marca on deep clay and limestone soils that have good humidity and allow for a long and slow ripening of the grapes, with some grapes from their own La Universal vineyard on granite soil for the last time as the vines were pulled up the winter after the 2017 harvest. The grapes fermented together with some stems, indigenous yeats and are foot trodden. The wine is matured in 4500 liter oak vats for 6 months and a further 12 months in 2500 liter oak foudres. This is a classical Mediterranean red with tons of aromatic herbs, thyme, rosemary, a touch of tree bark and some earthy rusticity. Very rich and tasty. The tannins are fine and add to the textured palate. This year it is 15% alcohol, something unusual for Carignan. 13,914 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2019”