Wine Advocate 93
"The bright ruby-colored red 2013 Dido is a blend of Garnacha, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon gown by four different grape growers on granite soils in the village of Falset where the winery is located. This is one of the few zones where the soil exists in the Montsant appellation, as you leave Falset and head for Porrera. This vintage has a much higher percentage of Garnacha, and the nose shows it, it feels much more floral, fresh, with no herbal tones even with the Bordeaux grapes in a fresh vintage. There is good complexity, it's earthy and balsamic with some Mediterranean hints but keeping the Atlantic freshness. The texture is silky but has some dusty tannins. The 15 months élevage has polished it and made it open and expressive. This is what they were looking for with the red Dido. The wine matured in a combination of cement vats and used barriques, but there is no trace of oak whatsoever. This is great wine and great value. 61,000 bottles produced."
René Barbie Jr. and Sara Pérez keep releasing better and better wines which show great freshness in the cool 2013 and 2014 vintages. They told me this is what they are looking for after turning organic in the vineyards and fine tuning the winemaking. They are now very comfortable with cooler vintages, which they tend to favor over warmer ones. For the first time they are releasing a very different rosé. They believe 2013 is one of their best vintages ever and I concur. 2014 was much more difficult, and required a lot more work.
Venus La UniversalView all from 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.