Prepotto may be a small town but it has the highest concentration of the best wine producers in the province of Trieste most especially the white wines. It is located in the heart of Carso (or Karst in English) in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia which borders Slovenia, Austria and the Adriatic Sea in the northeasternmost part of Italy. Its geographical conformations spans a great variety of climatic environments and landscapes from the mild oceanic in the south to the alpine continental in the north. The red soil and limestone rock make an ideal terrain for cultivating vines, where the sea breeze laden with salinity gives the wine more flavor. Here, the local grapes Vitovska, Malvasia Istriana, Friulano and Terrano grow imprinted with the identity of the Carso DOC territory’s red limestone soil, aired with breeze of the nearby Adriatic Sea and the cool night temperatures.
Lupinc is one of the most distinguished names in the oenological history of Karst because Danilo Lupinc had strongly believed in the potential of Vitovska cultivated in the area that he was the first to bottle it in 1968. But it wasn’t an easy task for the land that he inherited from his father because it was difficult to till. The soil was both rugged and rich at the same time and was challenging to cultivate. But with perseverance, he understood how special the territory of Prepotto was with its precious qualities. It was Matej, Danilo’s son, who introduced to Karst the method of breaking the stone with stone crushing tractors to mix it with the soil to create new space for cultivating vines. Matej attained a degree in agriculture in Ljublana, Slovenia and he now works full-time, running the company with the same fervor that his father has. The unique combination of what nature provides: earth stone, sea, mountains, sun and wind along with the proper technology allow the achievement of high quality level that Lupinc wines have.
Now, after more than 50 years from Danilo’s first bottling of Vitovska, the company produces an average of 20,000 bottles per annum carrying 9 labels of sparkling, white, red and dessert wine obtained from their 7-hectare land of vineyards. The cellar is found in an underground rock from around 1913 where the temperature remains constant and stable. While the granary was modified and transformed into a typical Karst house made of stone and wood, divided into 4 apartments for visitors who wish to have a full immersion of Lupinc wine estate.
Lupinc Metodo Classico Extra Brut 70% Vitovska 30% Chardonnay
The wines of Lupinc have general characteristics of drinkability, freshness, flavor and being oriented to the territory. In my visit there, an outdoor dinner prepared by Chef Daniele Pizzioli with the pairing of Lupinc wines was organized. In addition, Matej introduced his new wine labels which will be released in 2022, Metodo Classico Extra Brut obtained from 70% Vitovska and 30% Chardonnay aged for 24 months on the lees with particular label design made by Aleš Brce in tribute to the 1935 Black Square of Kazmir Malevič and another Metodo Classico Pas Dosè obtained from 70% Vitovska and 30% Chardonnay as well but aged longer on the lees for 36 months with a label in tribute to the 1924 Black Circle painting of the same artist. Although a native grape of Carso, Vitovska is rarely used as a variety for sparkling wine. Instead, Matej decided to create an effervescent version blended with Chardonnay. The result of the Extra Brut is a brilliant wine with a straw yellow color and persistent fine bubbles. A persistent nose with the crispiness of pear, peach, honey, delicate bread crust and white floral accent while the mouth lends pleasant flavors of fruits and bread with pronounced freshness and mineral notes.
Lupinc Vitovska 2019
Matej makes two versions of Vitovska, one with short maceration and another one with longer maceration. This one has a very short maceration and divided aging: a minor percentage is aged in large oak barrels for 9 months while the remaining part is aged on the lees for 9 months before they are assembled and left to age again in the bottle for a year. Straw yellow with a prominent floral character and fresh herbs reminiscent of rosemary and sage while the mouth has a striking acidity with lingering floral taste and notes of sapidity.
Lupinc Malvasia 2019
A day of maceration with 50% aged in oak barrels for 9 months while the rest are aged on the lees for 9 months before final assembly and aging in the bottle. Obtained from Malvasia Istriana, the nose lends a collection of aromas highlighted with white spring flowers, fresh herbs, almonds and delicate stone mineral while the mouth expresses the similar characteristics of the nose with a touch of delicateness, fresh and sapid with long persistence.
Lupinc Vitovska Amber 2019
This is the other version of the Vitovska which was harvested late, goes through a longer maceration of two weeks and three-year aging in tonneaux. This golden yellow wine, displays underlined salinity in the nose with mature fruit pulp, hay, sweet dried herbs and note of stone mineral. Full and round in the mouth with a delicateness of fruit and minerals ending with a slight bitterness of green almonds. A very pleasant orange wine that permits some varietal and secondary characteristics to push through.