Venus La Universal: A Financial Times Spotlight

24 May 2024

The Birth of Venus

In the Financial Times article, Collecting on a budget Jancis Robinson MW writes: “I love the new, fragrant, often transparent reds based on Garnacha grapes that are emerging from all over Spain.”

One such wine is produced by Sara Pérez and René Barbier Jr., an esteemed winemaking couple each at the helm of their respective family properties Mas Martinet and Clos Mogador in Priorat. But together they have made a home at Venus La Universal in Montsant, just a stone’s throw into the neighbouring appellation where the soils are driven by limestone and granite, rather than schist. At Venus, Sara and Rene have a free hand to experiment, producing Garnacha based reds that encapsulate Jancis’ “fragrant” and “transparent” remarks, with the complexity to age over the long term. At six years old, the 2018 Venus Tinto, from a vintage Sara dubbed “an inflection point for the region” at the time, for its finesse and elegance, is in the perfect drinking spot.

The Venus wines (including the entry-level Dido labels) are all produced in a genuinely hands-free fashion. Sara and René favour an earlier harvest on acidity; spontaneously fermenting with whole clusters, before long ageing in a combination of large foudré and concrete for 30 months, naturally stabilising the wine. Sulphur use is low and the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2018 has a decidedly modern, “freestyle” character, which is enhanced by a herb-laced crispness of tannin and overall juicy, playful fruit via just 13% alcohol.

This is a great wine for those wanting to expand their Spanish horizons. Food friendly, delicious and full of character, it tastes of warm summer nights.

"Garnacha. Deep, shaded garnet. Rich fruit that’s beautifully balanced with the tannins well in retreat. Serious stuff with lovely fruit and excellent structure. Really juicy and ripe for enjoying now."17pts, Jancis Robinson MW.

Justerini & Brooks was pleased to be awarded the 2023 Decanter Spain Specialist Retailer of the Year, the judges writing: “Justerini has revamped many of its supposedly lesser-speciality ranges lately, but few to such stellar effect as Spain – wine lovers should take note, especially given the diversity and value of the wines now on offer."

View our full list of Spanish wines.

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