The philosophy of Can Ràfols dels Caus centres on doing things well. We believe that to make great wine you need good grapes, balanced vineyards and appropriate production methods which enable the grapes to ripen correctly. We make every effort to allow Nature to do its work.
Only 50 hectares of this 455-hectare estate are vineyards, 2 hectares being used for olive groves, 1 hectare for almond orchards and the rest for woodland, scrubland and rocky terrain. The size of the single vineyards ranges from 0.15 hectares (the smallest) to 2 hectares (the largest). We only plough the land in winter to ventilate the soil, and we allow a certain amount of grass to grow in the vineyard to enhance the retention of moisture and presence of Nitrogen, in order to fix what little soil we have, as well as encouraging the proliferation of earthworms, insects and other beneficial life forms. We prune short, leaving only the fruiting buds that the vine will be able to mature successfully. We do not use any insecticides, and as a result, have a healthy population of native insects which regulate possible attacks and blights. We carry out our green pruning toward the end of spring and full leaf pruning at the end of summer. We harvest our grapes by hand and it takes the grapes just 15-20 minutes to reach the cellar from the vineyard following harvesting, thus avoiding any unwanted oxidation, bruising or uncontrolled fermentation.
We believe that it is vital to protect our ancient culture and natural habitat by respecting and improving our surroundings, and searching for equilibrium to produce the best wines possible. We use arid-farming methods without any irrigation and we adjust our production levels to balance out the amount of wine we make from the vineyards. We use natural farming methods: the small amount of manure we use is organic, 25% of the grapes are grown on the bush and the rest are trellised high to gain the maximum leaf exposure to the sun. We sulphur dust the vineyards only when necessary and use only the minimum amount of phyto-sanitary products in cases of extreme necessity. We carry out green pruning, harvest the grapes by hand and select the healthy grapes directly from the vine.
Besides healthy grapes, to make a great wine you need a combination of intuition, good taste and experience to make the crucial decisions regarding the wine’s production, storage and aging. Just like an artist when he decides what to do with his colours. We do not chaptalize our wines, nor do we use selected yeasts. What is essential in winemaking is to get the most out of the vine, thereby allowing the quality of the grapes and the production methods to speak for themselves, without using any additives. Every grape-picking season is a new adventure for the wine grower, and just as no two seasons are the same, no two wines are alike. At Can Ràfols dels Caus, we have experimented extensively with different wines and grape varieties, striving to make wines with good aging potential. In keeping with our personal taste, we tend toward the creation of create fine wines, which are natural, elegant, and with a marked personality, simultaneously embodying the expression of the fruit, the land and man’s intervention.
Can Ràfols dels Caus has always been a forerunner and trend-setter, and some twenty-five years after starting his wine venture, Carlos Esteva decided to take a giant step forward by building a new cellar. The aim was not to squeeze in more vats, barrels and bottles, but to work better. With this project, the winery’s potential for producing quality wines has multiplied, as the cellar is now geared to promoting micro-vinifications, separating batches even more and research. We have designed a cellar which has been completely carved out of the Dolomitic limestone of the Garraf, invisible from above ground and totally integrated into the landscape. It boasts a vast vinification and micro-vinification hall, and a barrel/aging chamber to enable close monitoring of the entire process. The new cellar was built on different levels to enable decantation by gravity. We have vats of different capacities to allow us to vinify batches separately according to the vineyards where they come from, the age of the vines, the ripening stage and type of grape, etc. This means that we can make wines which have been aged for a long time in the bottle, gently enhancing the development of complex aromas and avoiding the hyper-oxidations which have become so fashionable.
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