Penedès is a wonderful piece of Catalonia! We love it and take every opportunity to explore its towns, new places and, of course, new wineries! Keeping all the wine lovers and countryside travelers in our minds, we came up with this brief post of 10 things you should know about the Penedès:
1: Penedès is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines in Catalonia. DO Penedès includes all Penedès region and municipalities of four other counties: Anoia, Alt Camp, Baix Llobregat and Tarragonès.
2: Penedès has long been considered one of the country’s best wine-producing regions after the Rioja, it is also one of the most ancient viticulture areas in Europe. The Penedès is widely acknowledged as the home of the most modern and innovative Spanish growers (there are hundreds of independent producers).
3: Among Penedès’ traditional white varieties of grapes, XAREL·LO is the finest one. It is also one of the main varieties of grapes for the Spanish sparkling wine “Cava”.
4: According to archaeological evidence, wine production in the Penedès has ancient origins. Some evidence dates the Phoenician introduction of Chardonnay vines backs to 6th century BC!
5: Climatically speaking, the Penedés enjoys a variety of micro-climates, marked by different altitudes and proximity to the sea. Penedès is blessed with nearly ideal conditions for vine cultivation. Soils are primarily limestone and clay, and the climate is generally mild and warm.
6: The largest Cava producer in the small village of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is Freixenet. They produce over 200 million bottles annually.
7: Cava is a separate ‘Denominacion de Origen’ (DO) from Penedés, given to sparkling wines made in the traditional champenoise method anywhere in Spain. However, most Cava is made in the Penedes. Penedés is, therefore, home to two DOs!
8: Josep María Albet i Noya started the first production of Spanish organic (eco) wine, in the late 1970s and started a huge trend. Over 80.000 hectares of land in Spain is now specifically registered and documented as organic.
9: Through the early centuries, Penedés produced primarily red wines. The change came in the second half of the 19th century when French vineyards suffered from the phylloxera plague. Catalonia pushed the production of Cava and sold it throughout Europe. The bug then arrived in Catalunya and spread across the Pyrenees in 1876. After its recovery, the production gradually shifted from red grapes to white.
10: DO Penedès is split into three administrative sub-regions: Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès, and Garraf. The Alt Penedés vineyards possess the region’s greatest reputation for quality. These vineyards are at the highest elevation of any in Europe at 2,600 feet (800 meters), which incidentally also makes for a fantastic landscape!
Come with us and discover the wonders of the Pyrenees in our Wines of Catalunya: DO Penedès day trip!