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An Introduction to the Spanish Wine Region of Penedés

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Our journey through Catalonia takes a brief pause to admire the Catalan wine region of Penedés. This area is applauded as one of the most exciting and privileged Spanish wine territories. Recognized 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.

(photo credit: Enoturisme Penedes)

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 lower quality. There are a specific set of merits that 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.

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 to 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.

The region’s wine is most recognized for its diversity. The vast tastes, aromas, bodies, and structures are achieved through the great differences in climate, territory and soil varieties. Winemakers 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 90% of Cava cellars in Spain 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.

You can also join our wine trips to Penedes where you will learn about cava, biodinamyc and organic wine production, eat like a local, and enjoy the company of a local sommelier.

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.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into the delicious wines of Penedes. In case you visit Barcelona and are interested in going on a wine trip to Penedes check our Wine and Tapas Tours. They offer a great way to uncover delicious gastronomy and amazing wines.