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27 April 2009

Roussillon: Domaine de Vénus, St-Paul de Fenouillet

Vénus is owned by "a dozen wine-loving friends" steered by Nathalie Abet in situ, who gradually bought up and brought together parcel after parcel of old vines spread around the rocky elevated windy terrain near St-Paul; as well as planting some new Syrah and Vermentino. Thus the estate climbed from 7 ha/17 acres in 2003 to 13 ha in 2007. I tried the following wines at the Fenouillèdes wine show held in April of that year. By the way, it's now closer to 15 ha (although those young plantings mentioned above haven't quite yet come on stream) over 40 very different plots, which must be hard to coordinate at picking time!
2005 blanc, Vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (mostly old vine Grenache gris) – quite toasty and rich yet with attractive honeyed fruit overtones and mineral freshness. €11.55 87
2003 rouge, Vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Carignan Syrah Grenache) – quite structured v ripe cherry fruit with tobacco tones, fairly powerful and long finish. €6.60 87-89
2004 Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah Carignan) – a bit reductive or something on the nose, moves on to a tight herbal v liquorice palate, somewhat firm and tart but has underlying 'sweetness' too; closes up, a touch bitter in the end perhaps. €10.55 87+?
2003 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Carignan Syrah) – hints of smoky bacon, pretty extracted tannins with light tobacco and sweet plum notes, turning savoury to finish. €11.80

Update spring 2009 tasted at the Fenouillèdes wine fair, late April in Tautavel:
2004 white vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Grenache gris/Macabeu) – oily buttery texture and flavours with a tad of background toastiness, although it's attractively hazelnutty too; interesting "old" style. 85+
2006 white vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Grenache gris/Macabeu) – creamier toastier and "sweeter" but again has nice nutty maturing tones and weighty vs lively mouthfeel underneath. 85+
2008 rosé - zesty elegant Provence style with rose petal and red fruit notes, zingy finish too. 85+
2007 red vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Carignan/Syrah) – attractive blueberry and cassis fruit with spicy liquorice undertones, nice bit of grip and punch on the palate. 85+
2004 Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah Carignan) – nice developing savoury fruit with tangy herbal edges, dark chocolate and dry bite to finish. 87+
2004 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Grenache Carignan Syrah) – a touch more wood on the nose and palate but this also gives it more texture and roundness; maturing "sweet & savoury" fruit vs still firm mouthfeel. 87+
2003 - a bit oxidised, extracted and dried out. Oh, well...

13 Avenue Jean Moulin, 66220 St-Paul de Fenouillet
. Tel: 04 68 59 18 81, domainedevenus@aliceadsl.fr, www.domainedevenus.com.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.