The D.O. Penedès

While the history of making both red and white wines within the D.O. Penedes stretches back to the 4th Century BC, today many consider the D.O. Penedés, located slightly inland from the Mediterranean Sea and only about 45 minutes south of Barcelona, to be “Cava Country,” as 95% of Spain’s cava production is grown and produced within the appellation’s borders.

While this is true, many award-winning, still-white and red wines are also made in the region, which are quickly gaining notoriety as being some of Catalonia’s finest. To the normal still-wine drinker, cava may look and taste like any other sparkling wine, but it is typically made from three unique varieties, Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada, which are almost never used in France nor in California for making Champagne and sparkling wine, respectively.

The Penedés wine region is also distinctive in that it has been divided into three distinct subzones that are distinguished by their altitudinal differences. Baix- Penedés is the lowest-lying zone, where traditional varieties such as Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cariñena and Monastrell are grown. Mitja- Penedés is the intermediate zone, where Xarel-lo and Macabeo are also cultivated, as well as a few French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.

Alt- Penedés, is the region’s highest section which rises up to 2,500 feet and where the Parellada variety is traditionally grown. The variation in elevation, soil type and micro-climate are what help the D.O. Penedes produce a wine variety of wines to chose from and a wine variety of wineries to visit. On a visit to Penedés you will be able to see how cava is made, tour some the most reputable wineries I the region and try some of the local cuisine, which is considered some of Spain’s finest.

The undulating hills of Penedés are framed by the Mediterranean Sea on one side and by the Montserrat mountains on another, so be sure to bring your camera as Penedés is paradise on earth and you might want to snap a few pictures to remember your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Spain’s Garden of Eden.