Penedés is well-known for its sparklings but producers are making their mark with reds, whites and rosés. What do sommeliers need to know?
Boutique producers, native varietals and age-old, natural vinification techniques. Penedés has it all. It’s not just sparkling wine, there’s still too. The region has been producing interesting still wines for quite a long time. 2,000 years, according to the DO Penedés. Reds, whites and rosés are made here from a range of international and local varietals – Ull de Llebre, Xarel.lo, Macabeu, Parellada, Forcada, Vermell, Sumoll and Garnatxa, are the favourites.
It’s a large wine producing area, the closest to Catalunya’s capital Barcelona. This means that the wines have a strong local market, which is why they have not been seen outside of Spain that much until now.
We will increasely be seeing more still wines from Penedés. They are very drinkable, versatile and balanced which makes them interesting for food pairing” (Joelle Martí-Baron)
Organic and native
A generational change is impulsing a move towards the most natural methods of production across the area, so much so that the powers that be are aiming to produce 100% organic grapes within 2025. An amibitious claim when you consider that 2,500 hectares of vine are planted there.
Joelle Martí-Baron, global prestige manager at Familia Torres, has worked closely with Penedés wines. She explains, “Torres found some pre-phylloxera varietals. They mature later, retaining a nice acidity. I have just been in Belgium and the UK. Sommeliers, especially in the UK, are very enthusiastic about the native varietals from Penedés.”
Martí-Baron reveals that the family have been concentrating the family has been focusing on Forcada (white) and Moneu (red) to produce 2 still wines Clos Ancestral White and Redon Forcada. “I think we are going to see more and more coming still wines coming out of Penedés because they offer varietal diversity. It’s not the Albariños or Verdejos that you typically find from Spain.”
She continues, “You cannot find these varietals elsewhere in the world. Penedés is one of the oldest wine producing regions and has a a unique point of difference with these varietals.”
The region is holding its first Penedés tasting in London on Monday the 30th October at Asia House with a special focus on Xarel.lo. Alvaro Ribalta MW will be leading masterclass tastings on the day and explains, “I genuinely think that wines from Penedès, especially those made with Xarel·lo, are being overlooked in the UK market. Xarel·lo is capable of making, not only extraordinary long lees ageing traditional method sparkling wines, but also some of the best dry white wines of Spain. I very much look forward to showing some of the best examples in London.”
You can attend the tasting and master classes by registering here