Do you remember when we sold the 2010 Domaines Lupier’s El Terroir and La Dama about six years ago? Absolutely spectacular expressions of 100% old vine Garnacha from the upper Navarra region in northern Spain. I remember traveling through this arid region just to the north of Pamplona (“running of the bulls”) and just south of the Pyrenees range. Really better known for its inexpensive, good value blush wines. And until Enrique Basarte and Elisa Úcar began discovering and rescuing miniscule, remnant plots of old vine Garnacha in 2006, that’s exactly where these grapes ended up. SACRILEGE! Studying and mapping the various diversity of soil types (chalky-clay and limestone) and using organic and biodynamic viticulture practices to nurse these dry farmed old bush vines back to health reminded me of the Priorat pioneers of the mid-1980s.
2016 was a cool vintage and these wines are not overly ripe or over oaked. In fact, the indigenous fermentations are in stainless steel and the wines are moved into large neutral oak foudres (only 8% new each vintage) for aging from 14 -20 months. The objective goal is a true and transparent expression of Garnacha and place.
“The more delicate, ethereal and fine 2016 La Dama is also pure Garnacha from old head-pruned and dry-farmed vines from different plots on limestone-rich soils. The vines are worked organically and biodynamically, and the fermentation and work in the vineyard is with the natural yeasts and with as little intervention as possible. The wines
are fresh, floral and expressive, especially this one—it exploded with aromas of violets as I pulled the cork and decanted the wine. This has to be the most delicate, ethereal and mineral vintage of La Dama so far. It’s subtle and harmonious, like a watercolor. It’s nuanced and complex, with aromas of lilies and white flowers (not only violets), notes of orange peel and a textured palate and incredible finesse, with chalky, extremely fine-grained tannins, a vibrant sensation, with electric-like sensations and a lot of light. Full of energy. Drink 2020-2028.” – 97 points, Wine Advocate (LG) – April 2020