White wine Young Natural. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Can Sumoi. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo.
Red wine Barrel Natural. 24 months in foudres. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Clos Lentiscus. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Cariñena.
Rosé wine Young Natural. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Can Sumoi. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo and Parellada and Sumoll.
White wine Young Natural. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Els Vinyerons Vins Naturals. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo.
White wine Young Biodynamic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Celler Credo. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Macabeo and Xarel·lo.
White wine Barrel fermented Organic. 4 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Augustus Forum. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Chardonnay.
Rosé wine Young Organic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jean Leon. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Red wine Young Natural. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Els Vinyerons Vins Naturals. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta and Tempranillo.
White wine Young Organic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Agustí Torelló Mata. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo.
White wine Aged in amphorae Natural. 6 months in amphoras. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Clos Lentiscus. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo.
Red wine Barrel Biodynamic. 10 months in Hungarian oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Loxarel. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Syrah.
Red wine Reserva. 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jean Leon. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Red wine Crianza Respectful agriculture. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jean Leon. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Merlot.
Red wine Barrel Kosher. 12 months in oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Pinord. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
White wine Young. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Cava Varias. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo and Muscat.
White wine Young Biodynamic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Loxarel. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Xarel·lo and Muscat.
White wine Young. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Freixenet. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Macabeo and Parellada and Xarel·lo and Moscatel.
White wine Young Non-certified biodynamic. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Gramona. Production area: D.O. Penedès. Grapes used in this wine: Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat and Moscatel de Frontignon and Gewürztraminer and Moscatel de Alejandría.
There are documents that date the cultivation of vines and winemaking in the Penedès back to the 4th century. Avieno even mentions it in his “Oro Martima” in the 5th century BC, although the improvement of agricultural structures arrived with the Roman Empire. Writers such as Pilnio, Silio, Itálico and Marcial praised and described the wines of the Laietan regions. The Vía Augusta, which crossed the Penedès, was one of the main Roman international trading routes, where the wine routes converged from Ródano, Ebro, Duero and Guadalquivir.
Red wines from Penedès were more valued than white, which was always the case across the Mediterranean, since darker wines were considered the best offering for Bacchus. The quality of wine production was maintained during the Middle Ages, although Islamic settlements did not favour the cultivation of vines in certain areas of Penedès.
Penedès did not take advantage of good commercial prospects in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but focused their viticulture on mass production, following the bad policies that the French had put into place in Rosellón, and consequently Penedès vines represent 70% of their crop.
During this period, eighteenth century Spanish expansion into South America generated an unprecedented demand for Penedès wines, which has barely abated since. Penedès wines were then exported in high numbers to France due to the outbreak of phylloxera in French vineyards. Both of these events helped launch Penedès wines into their golden era.
Due to the success in the region, winemakers in Penedès began to produce sparkling wines using the “champenoise method” in 1872, but by the end of the century, the phylloxera outbreak had reached Catalonia after crossing the Pyrenees. However, once phylloxera reached Catalonia through Gerona in 1879, the way to fight this insect was already known, which was to graft the vine to American rootstock that is resistant to the insect. In Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, a group of farmers and wine producers, amongst which were Marc Mir and Manuel Raventós, committed themselves to a fast renovation of the vineyards. The “Centre Vitícola del Penedès” was also installed, which would later become the biggest provider of American rootstock to the rest of Spain.
However, after the phylloxera epidemic and due to the rise and economic boost in sparkling wine, growers began to opt for white varieties and abandon their red counterparts, which were not only less productive, but were in little demand at the time. Consequently, the region lost almost all of their native ancestral strains, such as Garrut, Terret Negra, Morastell, Trepat, Sumoll, and Mando, among others. Only the traditional red varieties, Garnacha, Monastrell and Cariñena continued being grown, as well as produced throughout the Mediterranean, from Jumilla and Priorat to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, as a unique testimony of tradition.
Wine of real quality began to be bottled at the beginning of the twentieth century, leading to the D.O Penedès being officially recognised in 1960. From then on, winemakers and growers began to introduce sparkling wine technology into their production of calmer wines, with stainless steel facilities and cold fermentation. Winemakers in the region were pioneers in Spain, as well as the first to introduce grape varieties from France.
The D.O Penedès is situated in the north-east of Spain, in the autonomous community of Catalonia in the province of Barcelona. The Penedès region is wide and open, covering a long strip of land between the sea and the mountains, half-way between Barcelona and Tarragona. The vineyards are situated in the heart of the inland Catalan depression, between the inland mountains and the small plains of the Mediterranean coast. The region is home to around 24.300 hectares of vineyards, which span across 47 different municipalities, and are worked by 2,900 winemakers. There are a total of 170 registered wineries in the region. The DO is also made up of three distinct zones: The Penedès Superior (near the inland mountain range), The Penedès Marítim (between the sea and the coastal hills) and the plain between these areas, known as the Penedès Central.
Initially the D.O Penedès was a gateway into understanding the business of wine, where grape varieties were authorised where necessary to produce the wines that were needed. Although this mentality worked from the beginning of the 80s until the late 2010s, in recent years it has changed, especially since the Plan Estratégico del Penedès was launched, which concentrated efforts on the cultivation of the white Xarel.lo grape variety. It almost became the exclusive grape of the region, putting aside questions about varieties that would have to be resolved in the long term, perhaps trusting that the market would be the judge to promote successive changes to the list of permitted grapes. Taking into account the size and strategic importance of this DO, the changes are well under way, and the Regulatory Council of the DO Penedès is successfully following a strategy to enhance a small part of the production of sparkling wines under the umbrella of the Clàssic Penedès brand, and even the study and approval of subzones within the territory of the DO.
It is clear that there is an important French influence in the region, but now the strength of the region lies with its grape varieties: with the Xarel.lo, which attracts the R&D (Research & Development) of many different producers and winemakers, and the Macabeo, which although not widely cultivated has shown a lot of potential. Then there are the red varieties, such as Sumoll, which has been a breakout star in the past years. Other options include Garnacha Tinta and Tempranillo, as well as Balado, a variety that seems to have been recovered from nowhere, without any news of its existence until a couple of years ago. It will be interesting to see which direction the wineries in the region decide to take in regards to the choice of grape varieties for the production of red wine, assuming that the Penedès is also a place where they are able to achieve red wines with character.
Not only is there a lot of potential for the future, but this has historically been a pioneering region that has been at the forefront of the market, affecting others due to its economic power. Therefore changes that are carried out in the DO, such as those that have occurred in the past 50 years, are likely to influence many of the wineries across Spain. In this sense, responsibility is twofold, and before making any step, the DO Penedès should be aware of the importance that their decisions have had in the recent past.
Climate, Soils and Varieties.
The DO is made up of three distinct zones: The Penedès Superior (near the inland mountain range), The Penedès Marítim (between the sea and the coastal hills) and the plain between these areas, known as the Penedès Central. The climate is typically Mediterranean, mild and warm. The Penedès Marítim (Baix Penedès and Garraf) is milder due to the proximity of the sea. The Penedès Superior (Alt Penedès, Alt Camp, Anoia and Baix Llobregat) has higher rainfall and larger contrasts between maximum and minimum temperatures. The Penedès Central (mostly Alt Penedès) is a mixture of the two microclimates.
The soils of the three sub zones have similar characteristics: rich in phosphorus, low potassium levels, and around 20% limestone on average. In the lower regions, the soils are sandy, while those in the higher regions are calcareous with a prominence of clay.
Concerning grape varieties, one of the clearest advantages of the Penedès region is the climate, which enjoys a wide variety of micro-climates, marked by the different altitudes and the proximity of the sea. The red varieties include Tempranillo, Garnacha, Samsó, Sumoll, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Franc among others. Permitted white varieties include Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada, Subirat Parent, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de grano menudo, Malvasía de Sitges, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc. Of the 24,300 hectares of vineyards, over 19,000 hectares are used for the cultivation of white varieties, while the rest is used for red. The most cultivated white variety is the Xarel·lo, with about 7,000 hectares, which is followed with 5,300 of Macabeo, and Parellada with about 4,500 hectares. In red, the most widely grown variety is Merlot with some 1,770 hectares, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon with 1,170 and closely Tempranillo (Ull de Llebre) with 1,150.
Classification of Subzones in the DO Penedès.
A new map of subzones within the D.O Penedès was created with the aim of continuing the approach taken by the Regulatory Council, and at the request of many wineries to add importance and value to wines that are made from grapes from a specific area. From the producers’ point of view, it is important that consumers know the difference between different areas, since each produces a completely different wine depending on the soil and climate it comes from. Ultimately, it adds value, not only to the DO wines and wineries, but also to the land on which the vines are grown. This is why in April 2015, the DO Penedès unanimously approved the map of subzones, made from a soil survey that has been created over the past 15 years, helping enrich the content of the wine in terms of the soils and climate.
From this study, it has actually been determined that the Penedès area is home to 96 different types of soils, classified by climate, inclinations, and sun exposure, as well as other factors. Given this data, the Penedès can be defined into seven different distinct areas: Conca del Riu Anoia, Valls del Bitlles Anoia, la Conca del Riu Foix, Serra d’Ancosa, Massís del Garraf i Costers de l’Ordal, Marina del Garraf and Costers del Montmell. Following the creation of these subzones, the second step of the project saw general and specific regulations for each subarea approved, with the collaboration of the wineries involved. This, however, is an issue that is still hotly debated.
The Clàssic Penedès.
Quality sparkling wines have been part of the DO Penedès since its beginnings, although always in much smaller quantities than still wines. However, since 2013 a number of new producers have joined the DO, which has propelled this type of wine within the DO Penedès. In 2014, they were given the brand name of Clàssic Penedès and a new line of regulations was drawn up to better define the product. Clàssic Penedès follows the traditional and ancestral method for making the world’s best quality sparkling wines. It stands out in three principal areas:
100% Organic. With this requirement, in 2014, the DO Penedès became the first 100% organic sparkling wine DO in the world. Clàssic Penedès sparkling wines carry the guarantee of an agriculture that respects its environment, using traditional farming methods and 100% organic treatments, making the DO Penedès the leading DO for both quality and quantity in the ranking of organic production in Catalonia and in Spain.
100% Penedès. One of the key strengths of Clàssic Penedès is the territorial guarantee that comes with being part of the DO Penedès. It is a product with a clear identity, whose production is limited strictly to the DO Penedès, above all promoting the ancestral and indigenous varieties of the area.
100% Reserva. Strictly following traditional and ancestral methods, with the objective of consolidating Clàssic Penedès among the best sparkling wines in the world, our wineries must hold Clàssic Penedès wines for at least 15 months in the cellar. Thus, all Clàssic Penedès wines are Reserva.
Some wineries left the D.O. Cava and integrated their sparkling wines into the DO Penedès under the Clàssic Penedès brand. These wineries include; Albert i Noya, Bonans, Castell de Pujades, Celler Cal Costas, Celler Can Morral de Moli, Celler Grapissó, Celler Puig Romeu, Cellers AT Roca, Clos Lentiscus, Colet, Loxarel, Mas Bertran, Mas Comtal, Mas dels Clavers Can Gallego and Torre del Veguer.
Wines and Wineries.
Penedès is a winemaking region home to a vast number wineries, the majority of which produce a wide range of wines: reds, whites, rosés, sparkling and still wines. Given the sheer amount offered by the region, it would be impossible to mention all of them in this post. However, the territory is relatively small and there are different and varied wine routes that allow us to visit both unique wineries and at the same time, meet some historical charms of the region.
Parés Baltà, in Pacs del Penedès, is a century old winery that has managed to maintain its traditional, family character and is a clear example of the blend between old and new in the Penedès. The winery boasts a rich heritage, with five beautiful estates situated in five different municipalities, each cultivated following the practises of organic and biodynamic agriculture (Demeter certified since 2012). The winery cultivates over half a dozen white varieties, as well as red varieties, which are made using sophisticated modern techniques, including natural wines, and some produced in clay amphorae from their vineyards planted in the Foix Mountains. The winery produces a range of over 30 wines, including whites, natural whites, reds, rosés, sparkling wines, offering both single variety and blended wines.
Jané Ventura. This winery was founded in 1914 by the great grandfather of the current owner, Gerard Ventura. The company began by selling local wines until 1985, when Benjamí Jané Ventura, the father of Gerard, laid the foundations for the winery, led the business and created the Jané Ventura brand. The winery began producing cava in 1990 and red wine a year later in 1991. The main aim of the winery is to produce unique and distinct wines that reflect the passion and affection that the owners and growers have for the local terroir, a love that is evident in the design of the label itself, which shows symbolism inspired by the elements of the environment (wagon wheel, a palm, a fox, a sheet of mastic, a reference to the peak of El Montmell, etc.).
The winery is currently home to two estates, both located in the Baix Penedès subzone. The first, Finca Els Camps, is situated 450 metres above sea level in the municipality of Juncosa del Montmell, where the vines are up to 50 years old. The second estate is Mas Vilella, 250 metres above sea level, in the municipality of La Bisbal del Penedès, situated in a typical twelfth century Catalan farmhouse that was renovated to make way for the winery, and was purchased with the determination to obtain special prestige wines, which are vinified in a minimalistic way.
The winery produces a white wine, a rosé, and a red under the Selección de Viñas collection, as well as three estate wines: the Mas Vilella tinto, a Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged for 13 months in new French oak barrels; the Finca Els Camps blanco, a blend of Masabeo (85%) and Malvasía de Sitges; and Finca Els Camp tinto, an Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), aged for 12 months in first year new French oak barrels. The winery also produces a collection of ‘Ediciones Especiales’, including a single variety Malvasía de Sitges white wine, a single variety red Sumoll, a well-aged cava and the 1914, which is aged in stacks for 60 months, as well as a traditional collection of sparkling wines.
Huguet de Can Feixes. This is another family winery located in a fifteenth century manor house, whose oldest written reference dates back to 1400, when the Feixes family cultivated land ceded by the Baron de Cabrera. The Huguet family took over the estate during the early 20th century, and in the 1980s, a new period with the second and third generations of the family began, to implement the spirit and philosophy of the traditional château. The first bottle under the Can Feixes brand was released onto the market in 1984. The winery is currently home to 80 hectares of vineyards, where both native and international grape varieties are grown, and their facilities include an underground ageing room containing 225 oak barrels. The winery produces interesting white and red wines that have been extremely well received by consumers in the past few years. Their wines are marketed under the Can Feixes name, while their cavas are labelled with the Huguet brand. Under the Can Feixes label, the winery produces: a red crianza, a blend of Merlot (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Ull de Llebre (20%) from the harvests on the Can Feixes estate; an aged single variety Chardonnay, and a Blanc Selecció, a blend of Parellada, Macabeo and Chardonnay. As for the other line of the winery, the Huguet Cavas, production is limited and they market numbered bottles of Brut Clàssic, Brut Nature and Cava Gran Reserva.
Jean Leon. This winery has been in the hands of the Torres family since 1994, but the winery tells the story of a pioneer who planted various varieties in Penedès. The winery was opened by Ceferino Carrión. Born in Santander in 1928, Carrión embarked on a long journey at 19 which took him to Paris and later New York. He travelled across the United States, arriving in Hollywood, where his life began to change. As many actors did at the time, Carrión changed his name to Jean Leon. After working for Frank Sinatra and Joe di Maggio, he befriended James Jean, opening the La Scala restaurant with him in April 1956 in the heart of Beverly Hills, a hotspot for celebrities at the time. A good host, Jean Leon always chose the wines carefully, eventually deciding to embark on his second great adventure in the viticulture and winemaking industry. He travelled the world in search of the ideal land before arriving at Catalonia and, in 1962, he acquired the best land in the region and created the Pago Jean Leon, 150 hectares.
To the surprise of many winegrowers in Penedès, he began to plant strains from France, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay, which were previously unknown in the area. It was here that the journey of the Jean Leon wineries began, pioneers in Spanish winemaking following the concept of château or single vineyard. Among their brands include the Vinos de Pago, such as Jean León Chardonnay Viña Gigi, fermented and aged in small French oak barrels and currently distinguished as “Vi Finca”, then there is Jean León Merlot, which comes from the Viña Palau, followed by the mythical Jean León Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva, first produced in 1969, made with grapes taken from the La Scala vineyard. And finally, there is the special red Zemis, first produced from the 2000 vintage.
Agusti Torelló Mata, known as ‘the man of cava’, has decisively contributed to the momentum of cava, while holding positions of responsibility in the area’s important wineries such as Segura Viudas and Marqués de Monistrol. In 1960, he decided to create his own winery, together with his wife and family. Since then, the hard work, enthusiasm and passion of a whole family has been evident in the personality of their wines and cavas. Loyal to traditional native grape varieties (Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada), they cultivate their vineyards very carefully and in controlled conditions. The cavas are produced using the most advanced techniques, using native yeasts during the winemaking process, guaranteeing quality after the ‘tiraje’, bottling, ageing and disgorgement. The winery also produces still wines under the D.O Penedès classification, such as the white wine Xic, a single variety Xarel.lo made through organic viticulture, which spends 3 months on its lees; as well as Aptià, a single variety Macabeo, which ferments in French oak barrels for 6 months.
Caves Llopart. This is a family winery where the personality and style that define their wines and cavas come from the unique location of the vineyards, impeccable production process, unique land and tradition. The winery is situated in the Heretat de Can Llopart, and is one of the oldest viticultural estates in the region, as witnessed by a document conserved by the family written in Latin and dated 1385. This winery is characterized by outstanding quality and great prestige. Llopart produced their first bottles of cava in 1887, in the old cellars of the farmhouse, which have since been renovated, along with a winemaking and ageing room, and a modern cellar built into the centre of the estate. The winery is now home to 70 hectares of vineyards, located in a mountainous area, and produces two wines as well as a wide range of champagnes. El Castell de Subirats is a red reserva blend of Merlot, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, which is silky and well structured, with round and soft tannins. Another wine made by the winery is Llopart Vitis, made with Xarel·lo, Subirat Parent and Muscat; Llopart Clos dels Fòssils is another of their wines, it is a blend of Xarel·lo (65%) and Chardonnay (35%) from the Clos dels Fòssils vineyard, with a layer of reef limestone and abundant remains of marine fossils forming terraces and slopes, this wine is aged for 4 months in French oak barrels from Allier.
Gramona is one of the historic wineries of the Penedès region. The family began producing sparkling wines under the names of Victoria, Gramon, Clos du Marquis and Ninon de Lenclos, before deciding on the Gramona brand in the 1940s. The winery is currently led by the fifth generation of the same family, in the hands of Jaume Gamona (son of Jose Luís), the current winemaker, and Xavier Gramona (son of Bartolomé). The winery produces a complete range of cavas, as well as still wines under the DO Penedès classification. Their collection of wines include the white wines Ovum and Font Jui, made following the principles of organic viticulture, and Roent made following the practices of biodynamic viticulture, all produced with the Xarel·lo grape variety. Then there is Gramona Sauvignon Blanc, which is fermented in the barrel, and Gramona Chardonnay, followed by the Vino de Pago Mas Escorpí, a single variety Chardonnay again made following organic viticultural techniques. In regards to their red wines, there is Bru de Gramona, a Pinot Noir. The winery also produces two young fruity wines: Gessamí, a blend of Muscat de Frontignan (40%), Sauvignon Blanc (35%) and Gewürztraminer (25%), one of the most impressive white wines made in recent times in Catalonia, worthy of several awards; the rosé Gramona Primeur, a Syrah wine made using organic farming. They also have a very good reception in the market for their two sparkling wines, the Mustillant de Gramona Blanco and el Rosado. Other works include two sweet wines (a Riesling and a Gewürtztraminer) which go by the name of Gel Vi, as well as Frisant Gel, a sweet white sparkling wine (aguja) also made with Gewürztraminer.
Colet Vinos y Cavas. This winery serves as a great example of the production of sparkling wines under the DO. Penedès and Classic Penedès classifications. Its winemaking roots, dating from 1783, originate in the Heredad Romaní, with 25 hectares of vineyards. The small family winery is led by the oenologist Sergi Colet, with only 100,000 bottles produced each year. The winery is functional and compact, and they work with both native and foreign grape varieties. The current range of the winery is composed of a still Xarel·lo white wine, as well as six extra-brut cavas, including ‘Tradition’, a blend of the traditional grape varieties, Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel.lo; they also produce A Priori, a slightly different cava, fresh, clean, light and refreshing, aimed at a younger audience with its modern image, predominance of fruit and a mixture of five different varieties. Another sparkling wine by the winery is Assemblage, half Pinot Noir half Chardonnay, this is an original sparkling wine which differs from the usual pink champagne. Originality, creativity and daring of these cavas sometimes collides with the rigid regulations of the DO Cava, but consumers value the quality and passion above all.
Juvé y Camps. The history of this family winery dates back to 1796, although it was in the 1960s when the grandchildren of the founders brought new life into the company and consolidated what is now an unblemished reputation. The culmination of the dream later came with the construction of a new winery, aided by Josep Juvé Raventos, with new production and ageing facilities, in the purest château style on the Espiells estate. Their new modern winery is home to the latest technology, where they produce both cavas and still wines under the D.O Penedès classification. The range of wines include: Ermita d’Espiells, a blend of Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada; Miranda d’Espiells, a single variety Chardonnay wine fermented in barrels; and Flor d’Espiells, a Vino de Pago aged for 8 months. Among their reds, their wines include: Casa Vella d’Espiells, a blend of Cabernet (85%) and Merlot, aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels; Viña Escarlata, a single variety Merlot aged for 12 months; and their newest addition Iohanes, a single variety Merlot with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon aged in new French oak barrels.
Raventós I Blanc. This is a personal project founded in 1984 by Josep Maria Raventós Blanc and his son Manuel. The winery was founded with the clear philosophy of producing wines with their own grapes. Raventós i Blanc offers a wide range of wines from the D.O Penedès. The winery produces two still young wines: Perfum de Vi Blanc, an agile white, made with a blend of Macabeo (60%) and Moscatel (40%), it is fresh and lively, and the Moscatel gives it a subtle aromatic profile with marked notes of vine flowers and a hint of table grape flavour; and the La Rosa, a new modern pale rosé, made with the Pinot Noir grape, which gives the wine the freshness and lightness of a very Mediterranean style wine. Their white wine Extrem is an authentic natural wine, a single variety Xarel.lo, that manages to capture and express the terroir of the Viña del Serral estate, which is divided into several plots, from which they obtain Xarel·los with different characteristics. Intensive work on the lees gives the wine long life, more body in the mouth and protects the wine from oxidation, being able to work with a reduced use of added sulphur. Their traditional Silencis follows closely behind, a single variety Xarel·lo white wine, with an acidic, saline high expression, which comes from soils with Miocene marine fossils and 50 year old vines. They work on the lees, and then bottle it without stabilising or filtering it. To finish off the range, their red wine, Isabel Negra, is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a touch of Monastrell.
Albet i Noya. This winery was founded in 1979 and is home to 70 hectares of vineyards, situated between Subirats and Mediona. The winery produces a range of wines and cavas using organic production techniques, and is a pioneer in organic viticulture in Spain. In addition to their cavas, Albet i Noya is also known for their collection of still wines, with nine white wines, one rosé and ten reds. Their collection of whites includes Fanio, which represents the essence of Xarel.lo grapes taken from old vineyards. This wine is produced in cement eggs and acacia barrels, respecting the purity of the wine. Marina Rión is another white, made from an unknown grape variety and named after the great-grandmother of Josep Maria Albet. It is the first white variety from a recovery project concerned with abandoned varieties that have become part of commercial production. Their classic Albet i Noya Chardonnay Colección, which ferments in new oak barrels, remains on its lees before completing its ageing in wood for 8 months. One of their most unique white wines is the Blanc XXV, a blend of Viognier, Vidal and Marina Rión, with a presence in the barrel. Concerning red wines, the winery produces La Milana, a blend of Caladoc, Ull de Llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These grapes come from 11 terraces which total 7 hectares around the current estate of Can Milà de la Roca, and are aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Another red worth mentioning is Belat, produced using a single grape variety (Belat) that was abandoned after the phylloxera plague and was not recovered until the nineties by Albet i Noya. It is aged for 16 months in French oak. And one of their classic reds, Reserva Martí, is a blend of Ull de Llebre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, taken from the oldest vines on the estate, and aged for 24 months in French oak barrels. The winery also produces 7 sparkling wines under the DO Penedès classification, including Brut 21 and Brut Barrica 21.
Sumarroca. Founded in 1983, this family winery has strived for innovation in the world of cavas and still wines in the Penedès. The Sumarroca family’s connection to viticulture began in the town of Llimiana (Pellars Jussà), moving to Penedès in the 1980s where they acquired the Molí Coloma (36 ha) and Sabartés (24 ha) estates. In 1999, the family acquired the former property of Marqués de Monistrol, which was then renamed the Finca Sumarroca, which spans over 400 hectares and is one of the largest plots in the region. The winery works on the philosophy of producing wines using their own resources and raw materials, and maintaining a medium size business to allow them to participate in research and development and preserve the personalised service that only small wineries can offer. Sumarroca offers a wide range of cavas and a line of still wines, which is predominantly made up of single variety white wines (Muscat, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, etc.).
Can Ràfols dels Caus is the name of the estate owned by Carlos Esteva in Avinyonet del Penedès, acquired by his grandfather, Jacinto Esteva in 1930 with a long tradition of growing grapes and making wine (there is a prize from the Universal Exposition in Barcelona in 1888 registered to a red wine from this estate). In 1979, Carlos Esteva decided to move to the estate of his grandfather, renovating a farmhouse (which dated back to 1634), and regenerating the vineyards to start producing wine under the philosophy of importance of the terroir, the satisfaction of doing things well, the wisdom of nature and the highest quality. The vines are cultivated following the principles of organic viticulture, while the winemaking process is carried out in a way that helps to express the properties of the fruit and terrain.
The latest project by this entrepreneur is the construction of a new winery, including modern facilities integrated into the landscape of the Garraf, which has allowed the winery to continue improving and enhancing the quality of their products. Their range of products includes five whites: Petit Caus, Gran Caus, El Rocallís, La Calma and Xarel·lo Pairal. The labels Gran Caus and Petit Caus are used for two exceptional rosé wines and two reds, followed by the Cuvée Syrah, AD Fines, Caus Lubis and a reserva especial that is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Alemany I Corrió. This winery is perhaps the perfect example of a boutique winery, situated in a small warehouse in the Vilafranca del Penedès, where the married couple Laurent Corrió and Irene Alemany (both oenologists), began their personal adventure in 1999 after passing through Burgundy. The vineyard of the Alemany family spans around 8 hectares and in situated in Lavern (Subirats), and is home to numerous varieties including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan. Each plot is studied carefully to better understand the land and establish the potential for each variety in each place. The various grape varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks of various volumes and annual production is around 18,500 bottles, producing their two wines Sot Lefriec and Pas Curtei. The first harvest of Sot Lefriec, a blend of the three varieties cultivated by the winery, was first produced in 1999 and put onto the market in 2000, and was marked as the one of the most interesting projects in Penedès from the beginning. Pas Curtei was first produced in 2003, in the same line as its predecessor, and is a young red crianza. The winery’s latest additions include the white wine Principia Mathematica, made with Xarel.lo grapes taken from old vines grown in the Sierra del Garraf; and Cargol Treu Vi, with only 1,200 bottles produced per vintage, which reflects the character and personality of the Xarel.lo grapes grown on 70 year old vines on the Garraf massif.
Miguel Torres. This is perhaps one of the most prestigious wineries in the Penedès region and, by extension, all of Catalonia. The Torres name has been associated with wine for over three centuries, when the family settled in Penedès, dedicating themselves to cultivating their land and passing on their passion and commitment to future generations. Commercial activity began in 1800, when a horse-drawn cart was used to carry wooden barrels of wine. It was the return of Jaime Torres Vendrell from Cuba that saw the Torres family see domestic and international expansion and, in 1870, Jaime and Miguel Torres Vendrall, along with their father, founded the Torres Company and CIA and saw the construction of the first winery in Vilafranca del Penedès. Bodegas Torres began exporting its wines to European and American markets, then in the 20th century, Juan Torres Casals began to produce brandy, aged in Limousin oak. A generation later, the great global expansion began thanks to the tenacity and entrepreneurship of Miguel Torres Carbó, and the many steps taken throughout their history to consolidate the Torres name. Today, in the range of Torres wines with DO Penedès red wines include Reserva Real, Mas La Plana, Mas Borràs, Gran Coronas and Atrium Merlot, while their white wines include Fransola, Waltrraud, Gran Viñas Sol and Atrium Chardonnay.
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