Domaines Lupier is an estate where passion rules. Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar bubble with enthusiasm and they love everything to do with managing their vineyards where they have worked hard to understand the terroir, their unique amalgamation of influences on the vines and which vines work best where.
Enrique has worked at bodegas all over Spain and has an academic background in oenology, while Elisa has worked in the wine trade for more than a decade with a business MBA behind her. Their particular, and shared, passion is garnacha, the only grape, with a variety of clones in 27 parcels of bush vines around Saint Martín de Unx in Navarra.
They sought out old vines and theirs are on average 75 years of age, with some planted in 1903. All are planted at between 400 and 750 metres altitude on calcareous clay of various types where snow-capped mountains loom over the vineyards and where as well as altitude an Atlantic influence has a say in the climate, bringing a further moderating influence on temperatures through the season so that the grapes ripen with freshness as well as concentration. Enrique and Elisa call it mountain viticulture with good reason.
All the work is done in a converted 19th-century manor house that the couple bought and renovated, creating a small cellar to be close to the vines. Stainless-steel vats are used for fermentation before the must is left to macerate for 20-25 days or so, gently extracting more colour, flavour and structure. The wines are then aged in small French oak barrels for 14 months. They make only two wines, both red and made from 100% garnacha, and their aim is that the wines should balance finesse and structure and speak loudly of the terroir. They have succeeded.