The property is owned by José Luis Perez, one of the original original Priorat pioneers (along with René Barbier, Alvaro Palacios, Daphne Dorian and Carlos Pastrana. José Luis has handed over day-to-day responsibilities to his talented and dynamic daughter Sara, a trained enologist. Under her direction the estate is making beautiful, sophisticated wines.
Mas Martinet owns five vineyards. Since 2000 their vineyards have been farmed organically and their wines fermented with native yeasts at low temperatures. They work with whole clusters of Garnacha, destem their Cariñena, and are using cement vats as well as reducing the use of oak in aging their wines.
The wines reviewed below are outstanding examples of Sara Perez’ winemaking panache and show why Clos Martinet is one of our favorite producers of Priorat. The importer is Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, PA
Clos Martinet 2011 Priorat ($75) 93 The Clos Martinet is this estate’s flagship wine. It is normally a blend of 80% Garnacha, 15% Cariñena and a small amount of Syrah. Dark ruby in color, it is elegant and spicy on the attack and offers dark red berry fruit aromas with slate, black pepper and earth notes. Aged 22 months in 300 liter barrels, the wine exhibits firm round tannins and a powerful finish. Still young, the wine will benefit from further aging over the next few years and will provide drinking pleasure for well over a decade. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the 6.5 hectare Finca Martinet. Drink 2014-2024
Mas Martinet 2011 Cami Pesseroles Priorat ($95) 94 The 2008 Cami Pesseroles is a magnificent blend of 60% Garnacha and 40% Cariñena from a two hectare, low yielding, 90 year old hillside vineyard. Medium dark ruby in color and aged in barriques, it offers aromas of dark cherry fruit, toast, and minerals. These are followed on the palate by densely concentrated red and black ripe, spicy fruit with a soft texture, firm silky tannins and a long finish. Drink 2015-2022.
Mas Martinet Els Escurçons Priorat ($70) 95 The Els Escurçons is an elegant, pure Garnacha. It is a refined wine offering fresh, ripe aromas of red berry fruit with accents of licorella, minerals and licorice. On the palate it has a light texture and is high in acidity with firm ripe tannins, excellent balance, and a persistent finish. Sourced from a 600 meter high altitude vineyard, one of the highest in Priorat, and aged in amphorae. Give this one time in the glass to show all its virtues. Drink 2014-2024.
Mas Martinet 2011 Martinet Bru Priorat ($33) 91+ The Martinet Bru is the estate’s young cuvée, consisting of Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell. It offers a fruit forward palate of dark red plum and minerals. Aged 18 months in French oak, it is silky on the palate and very approachable with soft round tannins and an easy finish. Delicious and affordable. Drink 2014-2020.
For in-depth background information on the DOQ Priorat and its wines read the IWR Report #28 The Wines of Priorat.
Venus la Universal
Sara Perez also produces wines under the Venus la Universal label with husband and winemaker Rene Barbier Jr. of Clos Mogador in Priorat. These delicious wines are sourced from a 4 ha. organically managed vineyard of granitic soils in Falset within the D.O. Montsant. The importer is Michael Skurnik Wines, New York, NY
Venus la Universal 2009 Venus Montsant ($50) 92 The 2009 Venus is an attractive blend of 60% old vine Carignan, 20% old vine Garnacha and 20% Syrah. Still youthful and tight on the attack, it offers delicious and concentrated flavors of black cherry fruit on the palate. Aged in 500 L foudre for 20 months, it reveals an elegant texture, round tannins, and persistent dark red fruit flavors on the finish.
Venus la Universal 2011 Dido Montsant ($24) 93 The 2011 Dido is a blend of 65% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and small amounts of Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from grapes grown on granitic soil, it a beautifully focused wine offering fresh aromas and flavors of red berry fruit, minerals and toasted oak. Aged for 18 months in concrete and foudres, it is richly endowed with fruit and soft round tannins on the finish. A magnificent wine.
Venus la Universal 2012 Dido Blanc Montsant ($20) 92 This is a lovely white blend of Garnacha blanca, Macabeo and Xarello. The wine exhibits aromas of spicy pear and light toast with hints of minerals. It is soft and creamy on the palate with good volume, structure and acidity. The wine is aged for about 9 months in clay amphorae and oak barrels of different sizes.
For in-depth background information on the D.O Montsant and Catalonia as a whole, read the IWR Report #42 Wines of Catalonia.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler November 2014