Our journey through Catalonia takes a brief pause to admire the Spanish wine region of Penedés. This area is applauded as one of the most exciting and privileged Spanish wine territories. Recognised worldwide for its exceptional white wines and cava, this area enjoys the esteemed DO (Denominación de Origen) accreditation. Tucked away between coastal hills, enjoying a serene view of the Mediterranean Sea, this small pocket of Southern Catalonia is a land rich with diversity, quality and culture.
What is a DO (Denominación de Origen) Wine?
DO or PDO accreditations are exceptionally important when it comes to wine. These acronyms stand for awards of distinctive quality. It’s worth noting that wines which don’t feature this mark aren’t necessarily of a lower quality. There are a specific set of merits that a wine must display before they are deemed to be DO:
- Wines must be produced within the boundaries of a DO territory.
- Wine must be produced using only grapes grown in that geographical area.
- The wine must display special characteristics which are only achieved by being produced in that specific area.
- Wine must be made using grapes from the vine varieties belonging to Vitis Vinifera.
(photo credit: Enoturisme Penedes)
What Makes Penedés Special?
South West of Barcelona sits the Penedés region. Within this sits three smaller areas known as Superior Penedés (inland), Maritim Penedés (coastal area) and Central Penedés (the territory between). The most fascinating aspect of this region is the differing micro-climates that occur. These micro-climates come about as a result of the proximity to the sea as well as the different altitudes of each area. Commonly, the entire region’s climate is representative of where it sits within the Mediterranean. However, this is not always the case. The Maritim Penedés tends to be milder due its coastal location. The Superior Penedés offers more variation, it sees a higher level of rainfall as well as a greater contrast between its maximum and minimum temperature. The Central Penedés offers a mixture between the two.
(photo credit: yjarap.com)
The region’s wine is most recognised for its diversity. The vast tastes, aromas, bodies and structures are achieved through the great differences in climate, territory and soil varieties. Wine makers in Penedés were among some of the first to introduce innovative methods like steel fermentation. Today, most are striving to deliver organic and biodynamic wines.
The Cradle of Cava
This beautiful corner of Catalonia is recognized across the world as the home of Cava. The sparkling wine is not explicitly produced in Catalonia, though almost 75% of Cava cellars are located within Penedés. The wine is most commonly produced between the Penedés Mountains and the hills of the Mediterranean coast. It’s said that this region boasts over 150 unique Cava cellars, not including global brands Codorniu and Freixenet. If you’re interested in visiting a Cava cellar, it’s worth noting that many are in fact open to the public.
Photo: Cava tasting during a Food Tour in Barcelona
Has this got you thirsty for some Catalan wine from the Penedes region? Browse the Eatapas wine section to find some of the best quality Spanish bottles, including esteemed Cava varieties.
Eatapas is an online seller of high quality and authentic artisan Spanish products that also recently branched out to include some other Mediterranean products that can be delivered right to your door. This month we celebrate Eatapas second birthday and we’d love you to be a part of it! Check out their blog for the latest competitions, discounts, recipes and insights. Their twitter account, provides excellent insights on Spanish wine, food and culture.