Penedès Wine Region of Spain
Located about an hour South of Barcelona, the Penedès wine region is a noteworthy wine growing area in the Catalonia region of Spain. As a Denominació d’Origen, Penedès wines are known for their superb quality and consistency vintage after vintage.
Penedès is the most active wine growing area in Catalonia and the grounds of the region are comfortably nestled between the Mediterranean coast and a coastal mountain range. Inland hills dotted throughout the region are considered to be some of the most ancient viticultural terroirs in all of Europe. Because Penedès is both near the sea and a mountain range, micro-climates here can vary widely – enhancing the flavor complexity of many Penedès wines.
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Wine Growing Areas in Penedès, Spain
Wines from Penedès come from three distinct sub-zones. All of which have different microclimates because of their proximity to the sea and nearby mountain ranges.
Alt Penedès (Upper Penedès) is by far the furthest inland and is defined by its relatively high-altitude, mountainous characteristics. Grape yields in this area tend to be small, but quality is excellent. This area also enjoys the most rainfall and has the greatest temperature fluctuations.
Baix Penedès (Maritime Penedès) is characterized by its low-altitude location next to the Mediterranean sea and beneath the coastal mountain range. It is here that the climate is more consistently and Mediterranean and warm.
Penedès Central, yields the most wine for the region. It’s further southwest and tends to harbor the classic warm and soft Mediterranean climate, though does occasionally receive more rainfal because of the coastal and mountainous geography.
Wine Tasting in Penedès
There are currently over 270 Bodegas (wineries) in Penedès and over 5,000 registered independent wine producers within the Regulatory Council’s files. View a mapped list of wineries that currently reside within Penedès, Spain.
Watch a brief video on Penedès’ Climate (Video is in Catalan). Video courtesy DO Penedès.
The Wine Grapes of Spanish Cava Sparkling Wine
If you want to know what wine Penedès is MOST famous for, the answer is most definitely their Cava – or sparkling wine. This sparkling wine is produced similarly to Champagne, and is also made in a Rose form as well. The main grape varieties used to produce Cava include Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo.
However, the region also grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Garnacha and Monastrell, which can also be used in various concentrations for Cava blends.
Cava wines are typically at their best while young (first one or two years), and tend to be superbly balanced with rich aromatic profiles.
Additional Wine Styles
Some producers in Penedes have begun to produce Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling in recent years. While Penedès is certainly more well known for their white wine production, red wine in the region has seen increased exposure throughout the world. Dominant red grape varieties grown in the region include Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Red wines from Penedès should be stored in a consistently cool room and tend to taste better when allowed to evolve over a period of 4 to 5 years.
Watch a video discussing the grape varieties grown throughout Penedès (Video is in Catalan). Courtesy DO Penedès.
Image credits go to Spanish-Wineries.com, DO Penedes and Enoturisme Penedès.