The Penedes Wine Region of Spain - A Guide to Wines and Grapes from Penedes

Penedès Wine Region of Spain

Located about an hour South of Barcelona, the Penedès wine region is a noteworthy wine growing area in the Catalonia region of Spain. As a Denominació d’Origen, Penedès wines are known for their superb quality and consistency vintage after vintage.

Penedès is the most active wine growing area in Catalonia and the grounds of the region are comfortably nestled between the Mediterranean coast and a coastal mountain range. Inland hills dotted throughout the region are considered to be some of the most ancient viticultural terroirs in all of Europe. Because Penedès is both near the sea and a mountain range, micro-climates here can vary widely – enhancing the flavor complexity of many Penedès wines.

The Penedes Wine Region of Spain - Picturesque vineyard scenes in Penedès, Spain.

Wine Growing Areas in Penedès, Spain

Wines from Penedès come from three distinct sub-zones. All of which have different microclimates because of their proximity to the sea and nearby mountain ranges.

  • Alt Penedès (Upper Penedès) is by far the furthest inland and is defined by its relatively high-altitude, mountainous characteristics. Grape yields in this area tend to be small, but quality is excellent. This area also enjoys the most rainfall and has the greatest temperature fluctuations.
  • Baix Penedès (Maritime Penedès) is characterized by its low-altitude location next to the Mediterranean sea and beneath the coastal mountain range. It is here that the climate is more consistently and Mediterranean and warm.
  • Penedès Central, yields the most wine for the region. It’s further southwest and tends to harbor the classic warm and soft Mediterranean climate, though does occasionally receive more rainfal because of the coastal and mountainous geography.
The Penedes Wine Region of Spain - Grapes to become Cava grow in Penedès, Spain.

Grapes to become Cava grow in Penedès, Spain.

Which Wine Grapes Grow in Penedès?

White Varieties

If you want to know what wine Penedès is MOST famous for, the answer is most definitely their Cava – or sparkling wine.

However, the region also produces consistent quality among many white varietals. While Xarelo, Paraellada and Macabeo are the more traditional varieties grown, we’ve seen an uptick in Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling in recent years. These wines are typically at their best while young (first one of two years), and tend to be superbly balanced with rich aromatic profiles.

Red Varieties

While Penedès is certainly more well known for their white wine production, red wine in the region has seen increased exposure throughout the world. Dominant red grape varieties grown in the region include Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines from Penedès should be stored in a consistently cool room and tend to taste better when allowed to evolve over a period of 4 to 5 years.

Watch a video discussing the grape varieties grown throughout Penedès (Video is in Catalan). Courtesy DO Penedès.

Wine Tourism in Penedès

There are currently over 270 Bodegas (wineries) in Penedès and over 5,000 registered independent wine producers within the Regulatory Council’s files. View a mapped list of wineries that currently reside within Penedès, Spain.

Watch a brief video on Penedès’ Climate (Video is in Catalan). Video courtesy DO Penedès.

Image credits go to Spanish-Wineries.com, DO Penedes and Enoturisme Penedès.

email

3 Comments

  • The breakdown of the regions is very helpful. Saving for later.

  • We went to Rioja for a wine tasting trip last year and had a lot to learn about the grapes that are grown there. We didn’t make it to Penedes, but we will surely be back. I love cava.

    • Spain has a plethora of great wine regions producing great wine. Rioja is the highest tier of regulated quality (next to Priorat as DOCa’s), but while the books have Rioja as one of the most noteworthy regions – there are actually plenty of other Spanish wine regions producing equally great wine (DOs). They just aren’t classified as highly for a variety of reasons – Penedes being one of them. Long story short, don’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to Spain!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *