Wine Advocate 93
"The red 2011 Dido is produced with organic farmed grapes grown on granitic soils and blends Garnacha, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The aim here is to keep the freshness. Forty percent of the wine is aged in concrete vats, while the rest is matured in clay amphorae and used oak. The result is a restrained, soil-driven red with earthy notes, black fruit, licorice and subtle Mediterranean herbs with some floral overtones and no traces of oak. The palate is medium-bodied, with clean, penetrating flavors, lively acidity and a long finish. A delicious, serious red showing balance and personality. What more can you ask for? Drink now-2018.
Venus La Universal was created in 1999 in Montsant and is the personal project of wife and husband Sara Perez from Mas Martinet and Rene Barber Jr. from Clos Mogador. I’ve seen a few stylistic changes through the years, and I feel they are now producing better wines than ever."~LG
" The Dido Tinto is 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. Approximately 40,000 bottles produced. " ~ Winery notes
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.