Celler Cara Nord, Lush Life in D.O. Conca de Babera

214/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Conca de Barbera – El Vilosell – Celler Cara Nord – Cara Nord 2012

Lush Life……..,

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Cara Nord 2012, 40% Macabeu, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Albariño

Lovely bright and clean as a whistle. Pale yellow colour with thin slow flowing tears. Took a while to get the nose going, as it was quite closed. Citrus and white fruit with pleasant herbal notes. Grapefruit, lemon zest, some pear, Mediterranean forest herbs. Secondary offer aniseed and mineral. Closes on a spicy note, which carries onto the palate. A nice entry, smooth creaminess and good acidity, intense citrus (grapefruit) and slightly savoury white fruit, some bitter notes and good freshness, fine structure, shows a soft minerality and medium persistence. Medium-long finish and after taste of citrus. Good focus and length. Should be enjoyed over the years to come.

The Mountains

Celler Cara Nord is located close to the Serra de Prades mountains and owes its name Cara Nord (north face in Catalan) due to its location in this part of the mountain. This is a steep and hilly landscape, surrounded by high peaks and forests of oak in the Natural Park of the Prades Mountains and Natural Park of the Poblet Forest. An area that has been nationally classified as an area of Geological Interest. Poor earth with slate, clay and limestone with rocky outcrops, cliffs and rugged mountains. The climate is Continental-Mediterranean with cool nights that allow the vines to rest. This delays the accumulation of sugars, preserves acidity and helps in the creation of aromas.

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Cara Nord was created by 3 people, joined for more than 20 years by their friendship and their passion for wine: Tomas Cusine, Xavier Cepero and Eric Solomon. They had many years of experience in the wine industry, and in March 2012 they decided to start a winemaking project together. They all had been attracted to the majesty of the North Face of the Sierra de Prades and its magnificent climate, land and history of quality wine making.

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From experience they knew the potential of the grapes that grow in the  Prades Mountains when it came to making good wines: the excellence seen in the DOQ Priorat, the reliability of D.O. Montsant, and the creativity of the D.O. Costers del Segre all originate from the same mountain range. Three Denominations of Origin located on a single mountain, all producing remarkable results. In reality, however, this interest lay particularly in the fourth D.O. of the Prades Mountains.

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This area was the Denomination of Origin Conca de Barbera, which itself has a long tradition in wine making and still has great potential in the world of small wineries and micro-elaborations. In 2012 they felt the call of “Mountain Viticulture” and threw themselves wholeheartedly into the Cara Nord project, aiming to: Vinify grapes from vines planted at altitude on the North Face of the Prades Mountains. Starting with the vineyard and with their small winery located within the historic Monastery of Poblet, in March 2012 they embarked on this great wine-making adventure.

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Viticulture up to 800m above sea level, as is the case at Cara Nord, takes place in a very particular and demanding geographical environment that poses constant challenges. But Tomas, Xavier and Eric are convinced that vineyards grown on rocky land, in unpolluted air, and surrounded by untouched biodiversity, will result in the creation of original wines with unique organolèptic qualities.

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They have opted for a mountain viticulture with vineyards at about 800 meters above sea level. And in Prades, per 100 m altitude, the temperature falls with about 0.65 º C, and the ultraviolet radiation increases 4% for every 250 meters. Moreover, this area has an average of 330 sunny days a year. Furthermore, the vines suffer water stress allowing them to concentrate flavor, aroma and color in an extraordinary way and also fungal growth is rare.

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Cara Nord is working with varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Garrut, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Albarino adapted to the landscape of the area. The Macabeo vines are very old, about 80 years. The rest were planted about 15 years ago. In addition, all the grapes that constitute Cara Nord are grown without irrigation to promote the intensity of the wine that comes from grapes harvested in its most optimal time. They  have no fixed rules in enology and each vintage should start over with new weather, new grapes and a new human factor. Exciting times ahead!

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167 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

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