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Precision Old-vine Spanish Grenache to Rival Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Domaines Lupier “El Terroir” (Navarra 2012)

We’ve been big fans and supporters of Domaines Lupier since their very first vintage in 2008. We’re not the only ones, they’ve been garnering international accolades from the beginning. They have consistently produced wines of precision and clarity that reflect the place and the year. The recently released 2012 vintage of “El Terroir” is no different, and it may even be the finest vintage of the cuvée to date. With an ethereal nose, an incredible purity of fruit, and silky tannins on an everlasting finish, it puts to mind Château Rayas – another 100% old-vines, Grenache-based wine from the legendary producer in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

When husband and wife team Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar began searching Spain for old-vine Grenache vineyards they realized what they were looking for was a mere 40 minutes from their home in Pamplona. They settled in to the small village of San Martin de Unx and identified 27 separate plots, with vines ranging from 68 years old to over 100 years old (the oldest vineyard planted in 1903), at elevations up to 2,500 feet. This is the northern region of Navarra, more specifically, the cool and mountainous sub-zone of Baja Montaña, where wines can show harmony of ripeness and freshness with all the precision of an oceanic climate.

These folks aren’t just lucky beginners. Enrique has over 16 years experience in vineyards all over Spain and an academic background in agronomic engineering and oenology, while Elisa has more than 13 years experience in the wine sector. From the outset the two decided take the biodynamic approach to viticulture to improve and maintain the health of the vines using natural and sustainable practices. With the ultimate goal of expressing the terroir of Baja Montaña in Navarra through wines of superb balance.

That goal was undeniably achieved again with the 2012 vintage of El Terroir. It is a deeply colored wine with a crystal clear purity of fruit rarely found in Grenache-based wines. Aromatically complex with layers of floral, cherry, and spice, a sip is superbly balanced and practically begs another in short measure. Only about 2,200 cases are produced.

Domaines Lupier “La Dama” (Navarra 2011)

La Dama is Domaines Lupier top cuvée. They select fruit from stonier vineyards, where the soils are shallower and the mother rock is very close to the surface. These plots tend to produce focused, mineral and elegant wines, where the chalkiness of the tannins speak of the limestone soils. This is quite possibly the finest Grenache-based wine in all of Spain and suitable for long-term cellar development. Only about 580 cases are produced.


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Posted on 2017.10.05 in Saturday Sips Wines, Spain DO, Navarra


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