Wine Advocate 92
"The red 2014 Dido had an incredibly perfumed and showy nose from a cold vintage in a cold granitic place. The palate is vibrant and shows citric acidity. The Garnacha is always fermented together with Syrah, and there are small volumes of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; it aged for some 16 months in large volumes to keep some fruit and the freshness. It combines the floral notes of the Garnacha with the meaty hints of Syrah. It ends very tasty, with a saline note. 67,000 bottles produced; this is their largest production wine. The Syrah shows stronger with time in the glass."
"80% Garnacha and 10% Syrah with small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon rounding out the blend. It is fermented with native yeasts and raised for fourteen months in a combination of cement tanks (70%) and 2nd, 3rd and 4th use French oak (30%). This vintage of Dido is particularly noteworthy for its freshness and lift. It has an alluring bouquet of violets, tapenade and damson that is followed by a palate that adds mocha, blackberry and beef jus to the mix, all supported by a streak of granitic minerality. "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. Open and expressive."
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.
This is our particular homage to youth, to its tenacity, to love and to the Garnatxa (Grenache) grape variety. The wine, sourced from our sauló (decomposed granite) soil plots in Falset display delicious fruitiness. The wine is aged in clay pots to maintain it s extraordinary freshness and purity.
A few years ago now, René and I decided to get into this world in order to leave an emotional not material footprint behind us. In this sense, we decided that we only needed to use the bare essentials, materials which had lower energy costs during their lifetime.
This has led to constant research for the traceability of everything we buy and a daily challenge of the needs of its use.
The trail of waste and energy burden associated with a bottle of wine can be very big or very small depending on how we work. This trail starts right at the time of planting and continues right the way through to distribution of a bottle of wine to the final consumer.
In general, we have analyzed the inputs and outputs of our agricultural system transformation processes. We have realized that if we recycle our outputs and transform them into inputs, we are in effect closing the circle and helping other neighbouring livestock systems to do the same, thus creating a stable social and economic network.
So what have we done over the last few years to make our project sustainable? This can be seen in the vineyard, in the winery and in logistics.
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.