CLIMATE AND SOIL
The “A Tapada” estate is located in the eastern most area of the Valdeorras region, on a terrain sitting at the foot of the “Peñas Marias” mountains, the vineyard being on a “Midday” facing slope which guarantees optimum exposure to the sun and excellent protection against the cold north winds.
“A Tapada” benefits from being influenced by a micro climate within the dominions of the Valdeorras region, this climate is influenced by the Atlantic with continental characteristics. The special position of the vineyard means that the both the sunlight and temperature conditions are excellent for the vines cultivated there, bearing in mind that they are situated within a region where the climate is more extreme and in consequence, problematic when it comes to the growing of vines.
The vineyard is located at 500 meters above sea level practically at the limit of the height above sea level where grapes can be grown, in the region vines are cultivated at between 350 & 550 meters above sea level.
Mean annual temperature:12ºC
Maximum absolute temperature: 33ºC
Minimum absolute temperature: - 5ºC
Frost free period of time:150 days
Mean annual rainfall: 850-1,000 mm.
Rainfall: 95 days
Dry period: April to May.
Summer : Dry and sunny
Annual sunlight : 2,800 hours
The land, in which the vines grow, slopes southwards, the gradient being between 10 and 15 %. The Ordovician slate geological composition of the soil is of excellent quality for vine growing, unlike the lower reaches of the area where the soil is made up of shale and Silurian slate. The soil is dark brown, with the presence of coarse elements originating from the mother rock (slates) being abundant. It’s quite deep, the texture is silty-clay like and well drained. The organic matter content is sufficient and the pH is slightly acidic.
THE WINERY AND THE PRODUCTION OF THE WINE
The winery is a modern set up, designed by Ramón Guitian and Pepe Hidalgo. It was built at the beginning of the nineties and is fitted out with the most modern technology for the making of white wines. Both its size and design uniquely and exclusively respond to the grapes produced in the “Á Tapada” estate taking into account the variety and the singularity of the grape.
The ripening of the grape is controlled so as to know as to when the optimum moment to harvest is. This is done in just a few days before the end of the month of September. Unlike the vineyards situated at the end of the of the river Sil valley, the Á Tapada vineyard which is at a higher altitude harvests later there, the grapes ripen a couple of weeks later which means that the ripening is slower with greater balance and aromatic expression.
Harvesting is done using small 20 Kg crates and the elaborative process is totally in concordance with the fruit, minimizing to the maximum the usage of mechanical processes. Beginning with the de-stemming, then the pressing of the grapes, followed up by a measured pre-fermentative cold maceration and a light pressing after which the low temperature static settling of the must is done and to finish, the low temperature alcoholic fermentation, from which wines of high standards and personality are achieved.
The greater part of the wines are fermented in stainless steel, while the rest are fermented in French and American oak casks along with a small amount fermented in Acacia wooden casks. The “Á Tapada” winery has pioneered the use of lees in Spain, producing the first wine aged over lees without the use of wood. It has also been first when it comes to the use of Acacia wooden casks and has also demonstrated the longevity and excellent evolution of a white wine aged in a bottle for more than 50 months.
The Godello vines coming from a very old pre-phylloxera clone were planted in the year 19.85, the spacing being 2.65 meters in the rows and 1.20 meters between the vines, meaning that the density of the plantation is close to 3,100 stocks per hectare.
Training is done using the trellis system and the pruning is done using the” Daga and Espada” method as it is called in Spanish or as is more commonly referred to as the double Guyot method. This method of pruning results in leaving spurs with two buds visible and rods of between 6-8 buds visible which comes to a total of 24,800 to 27,900 buds per hectare.
The average grape production is around 8,000 Kg per hectare, which means that the average yield of grapes per vine is 2.6 Kg. That is not an excessive amount if we were to compare it to the yield of other plantations of white grapes in Galicia, together with an adequate exposure and well handled abundant vegetation, resulting in obtaining a very balanced and excellently ripened grape harvest.
Fertilizing the land is not generally necessary, being done at most, when deemed necessary, using either compost or ecological slow mineralization compost like animal manure. When it comes to phytosanitary or plant protection treatments to keep at bay pests and vine diseases, a sustainability policy is observed, avoiding excesses detrimental to the environment, using, nearly exclusively sulphur and copper sulphate for pest and fungus control. The favourable microclimate of the “Á Tapada” estate, situated on an elevated and well ventilated zone hampers the accumulation of humidity in the vineyard, the latter is the principal cause of the diseases produced by fungi.