soil and grape varieties
the essence of CARA NORD
SOILCARA NORD in the Prades Mountains is located in an “Area of Geological Interest” in Spain. There are many disused mines in this area as even in Roman times, man tried to extract the mineral content of the earth. In this area, poor and stony slate is found, as decomposing lumps of clay and stones are. Quite a large part of the land was created in the tertiary geological era. Both the slate soil created from metamorphic rock and the decomposing calcanaceous agglomerations are low in organic content. The majority of the land on the estate is on quite a steep incline. This ensures good drainage and thereby maintains the quality of the soil, which is an important factor for creating good quality grapes. The geological conditions are extraordinary throughout the estate.
THE VINEYARDSIn CARA NORD high levels of production from the grape varieties are not easily encouraged. Noble varietals such as Grenache, Syrah, Garrut, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Albarinyo are adapted to the landscape of the area. Some of the Macabeo bush vines are up to 80 years old. The remainders have a trellis arrangement and an average age of about 15 years. All the CARA NORD grapes have grown without irrigation, favouring the concentration of aromas and flavours. The optimum maturity has an important role in the timing of the harvest. Laboratory organoleptic tests are used to carefully monitor the grapes, thus ensuring the collection occurs at the optimal moment for each variety. Yields from the vineyards The yields from the CARA NORD vineyards are very low, with an average that rarely exceeds 2,500 kg per hectare, therefore producing a small quantity of non-compact clusters of grapes that have an exuberant concentration of aromas and flavours.
CLIMATEOn the north face of the Sierra de Prades, about 800 m above sea level and under the influence of the Marinada (east) and Ponent (west) winds according to the time of day, the CARA NORD estate has an unusually fresh environment for the area. At CARA NORD with every 100m rise in altitude the temperature decreases about 0.65 °C. The environment is cleaner and thinner than in the valleys and the UV rays increase by 4% every 250 m. It can be said, too, that every 150 metre increase in altitude has the same effect as a degree of latitude to the north. This is an area of transition, influenced by both the climate of the Mediterranean and the Continental interior. Together they provide 330 days of sunshine per year. Winters are cold and summers are short with a significant temperature differential between day and night. The temperatures do not exceed 35ºC in summer and can reach -10°C in February, with an annual average of about 13ºC. The constant wind during the summer acts as a natural antiseptic for the vines, as well as cooling the atmosphere and lowering the summer temperatures. The annual rainfall is about 450-550 mm and there are approximately 2,700 hours of sunshine annually. So at CARA NORD the altitude ensures a slow and measured maturation of the grapes, and the persistent and soft sea winds create a fresh and healthy harvest.