Wines of Penedes, Spain
Geography & Climate
Away from the rest of Spain’s wine regions, Penedes (and Priorat) locates in the Catalunya commune far northeast of Spain. Snuggle between the south coast of Catalunya and the jagged mountain ranges of Montserrat Massif from the north, Penedes boasts a triumphant natural landscape for Spain’s great sparkling wine region.
There are 3 districts within Penedes: Baix Penedes, Medio Penedes and Alta Penedes. Baix Penedes enjoys the warmer climate with close proximity to the Mediterranean sea while Alta Penedes endures cooler climate as it hugs the mountain ranges reaching 2000 feet above sea level.
The Montserrat mountain ranges not only protects Penedes from the harsh bone chilling wind coming from the north, it also blankets the regions with warm Mediterranean sea. Rugged terrains plagued the region with micro-climate pockets combined with diverse soils, a wide range of varietals and style of wines find home here in Penedes.
Three districts of Baix, Medio and Alta not only have different climate conditions but also share little in their soil. Higher up in the Alta, soils consist of mainly limestone with some mixture of granite and chalk; this provides crisp freshness and profound mineral quality to the wines in the area. Down below on the flatland, sand and clay made up the majority of the vineyards.
White: Macadeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Red: Carinena, Garnacha, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Manastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Red wines of both native and international varietals have been rising in quality. Improved winemaking techniques have led to higher quality production and more enjoyable wines. Whey process supple tannins, silky structure of dark fruits and spices; they are not meant for extended aging but rather for early enjoyment.
There are a good amount of red varietals in Penedes however, productions of white wines, especially those of native varietals, by far exceeds red wine. And production of sparkling wine has always been at the top, this is Spain’s capital of Sparkling wines. Cava -the Catalunian word for cellar or cave- is sparkling wine. Although the tradition was very much derived from Champagne, but Penedes Cava isn’t attempting to replicate Champagne, it too has personality and characters of its own. Parallada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo are the 3 dominant grapes used in the making of Cava, although the use of Champagne grape (Chardonnay) is increasing in recent years.
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-Certified Sommelier (CMS)
Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM