Penedés is an important wine-growing region on the Mediterranean in Catalonia. The region is famous mainly because of Cava sparkling wines, as well as the big diversity of dry and sweet wine in all three colours white, red and rosé. Penedés has a very rich viticultural history dating back to the 7th century B.C., and recent archaeological studies are proving that the first vineyard in Catalonia is planted here.
The climate of Penedés is Mediterranean with warm summers, mild winters and moderate rainfall concentrated mostly in spring and autumn, and enjoys a wide variety of micro-climates, marked by the different altitudes and the proximity of the sea. And because of all these differences, the region is divided into three zones ascending from the coast. Bajo-Penedès is the warmest zone in the low-lying coastal region with vineyards planted at up to 250 meters above sea level. Mitja-Penedès is the second zone with up to 500 meters above sea level located west of Barcelona, and it is the most important zone for sparkling and unique white wines, and the third zone Alta-Penedès, the highest zone with vineyards planted at up to 850 meters above sea level.
There are hundreds of native grape varieties but only 15 are approved for the production of quality wine under the designation DO (Denominación de Origen). The most important include Garnacha (same as Grenache), Cariñena, Monastrell, Tempranillo, Viura, Parellada, Xarello, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The region is mainly known for sparkling and white wines, but there are high-quality red wines made from Tempranillo locally called Ull de Llebre as well as blends from Garnacha, Cariñena and Monastrell and the international Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
As mentioned earlier, Penedès is home of the sparkling Cava and the Penedès Espumoso. The Cava wines are made predominantly from Macabeo (Viura), Parellada, Xarello and in recent years Chardonnay, according to the traditional method from 100% organically grown grapes which made Cava the first 100% organic sparkling wine appellation in the world. From 2014 there is a new designation called Clàssic Penedès, sparkling wines produced under the appellation are produced following an agriculture that respects the environment, using traditional farming methods and 100% organic treatments.
Clàssic Penedès is the territorial guarantee that comes with being part of the DO Penedès, a product with a clear identity, whose production is limited strictly to the DO Penedès.
For the Reserva designation, for wines that have been made following the traditional and ancestral methods, they must be aged for at least 15 months in the cellar. The Reserva designation was created to allow Clàssic Penedès to become some of the best sparkling wines in the world.
Penedès is one of those wine regions that combine established traditions with a clear view of the future.