User talk:Ermengol Patalín/Penedès
The Penedès (also known as Gran Penedès, in English Great Penedès) is an historical catalan territory and a natural comarca, divided in three in the 1936 comarcal division: Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès and Garraf (Penedès Marítim or Marina del Penedès). The four comarques are in two different provinces: Barcelona (Alt Penedès, Anoia and Garraf) and Tarragona (Baix Penedès).
The principal towns are Vilanova i la Geltrú, Sitges, Vilafranca del Penedès, el Vendrell and Igualada. Virgin of Foix is the Patron Saint of Penedès and venerated Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Foix in Torrelles de Foix (Alt Penedès).
Penedès is one of the most ancient viticultural areas in Europe and that has origins the creation of a "Denominació d'Origen Penedès" that includes some municipalities that don't belongs to the natural comarca:
- Alt Penedès.
- Baix Penedès.
- Anoia: Cabrera d'Anoia, els Hostalets de Pierola, la Llacuna, Masquefa and Piera.
- Alt Camp: Aiguamúrcia.
- Baix Llobregat: Abrera, Begues, Castellví de Rosanes, Cervelló, Collbató, Martorell, Sant Esteve de Sesrovires and Vallirana.
- Tarragonès: Roda de Berà and Creixell.
Penedès wine-making region
Tempranillo vines, Clos la Plana, Garraf
|Official name||Denominació d'Origen Penedès|
|Years of wine industry||1500|
|Sub-regions||Lower, Central, Upper|
|Growing season||April - September|
|Precipitation (annual average)||400 mm|
|Soil conditions||poor, permeable, variable: clay to chalk|
|Total area||1557 km²|
|Size of planted vineyards||260 km²|
|Grapes produced||1,800 t/km²|
|Varietals produced||Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Merlot|
|Wine produced||33,000,000 litres|
|Official designation(s)||Cosecha, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva|
thumb|left|120px The Penedès wine-making region of Catalonia in Northeast Spain lies to the south-west of the city of Barcelona and to the north-east of Tarragona. The area is framed by the coastal hills of the Garraf and the higher inland mountains which skirt the Central Depression. Long considered one of the country's best wine-producing regions after the Rioja, it is also one of the most ancient viticultural areas in Europe. Perhaps better-known for its Cava production (a sparkling wine which has had its own Denominació d'Origen since 1991) white grape varieties predominate, although the region also produces some highly-regarded, oak-aged reds.
According to archaeological evidence (some of which is on display in Vilafranca's Wine Museum) wine production in the Penedès has ancient origins, certainly dating back to the Phoenician introduction of Chardonnay vines during the 6th century BC. A large export market is known to have existed even through Moorish occupation in the Middle Ages. Eighteenth century Spanish expansion into South America generated an unprecedented demand for Penedès wines which has barely abated since.
The region did not escape the pan-European devastation of the phylloxera plague, one effect of which was a large-scale change in the predominant grape types from red to almost exclusively white, which in turn led to the first Cava production in the 1870s. Since then, red varietals have regained some ground but remain a relatively minor part of regional production.
Extending from the low-lying plains of the Baix Penedès to the more temperate peaks of the Alt Penedès, the region is well-suited to growing an unusually wide range of grape varieties. While the more typical Spanish black grapes (Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cariñena, among others) are found in the hot and humid coastal plains, as the land rises whites become increasingly common.
On this higher inland terrain Spanish Xarel·lo and Macabeo grapes form the overwhelming majority, but Penedès growers have long experimented with small plantations of French and German strains, with notable quantities of Muscat d’Alexandrie, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay being more recently introduced, largely to diversify the range of grapes available for the blending which plays such an important part in cava production. The Alt Penedès has vineyards which rank amongst the highest in Europe at up to 800 m above sea level and here the native Parellada variety is predominantly grown.
Cava is inextricably linked to still wine production in the region, as its booming success of recent years has provided the revenue and innovation behind the rise, both in quality and in fortunes, of the region's still wines.
The Penedès is widely acknowledged to be home to the most modern and innovative of Spanish growers. There are hundreds of independent producers, the most famous of which is probably Bodegas Torres, producer of the popular 'Sangre de Toro' (Bull's Blood - not to be confused with the Hungarian Egri Bikavér) as well as many other fine still wines. Other notable houses include Pinord, Jean León, and Masia Bach, alongside more well-known Cava producers like Freixenet, Juvé y Camps and Codorníu.
In 1936, Catalonia was reconstituted into comarques. Although these were quickly abolished in 1939 they were reconstituted again in 1987. Each comarca was grouped with two to four others into a veguerie, of which there were nine.
Since the 1987 reconstitution it has been decided that Vegueries be formally re-established in 2011. Under the 2006 Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, the four provinces which make up Catalonia are due to be replaced by seven vegueries, which will also take over many of the functions of the comarques. As of October 2008, whereas the final boundaries of the new vegueries have yet to be formally approved, they are expected to incorporate largely historical boundaries: Àmbit metropolità de Barcelona, Alt Pirineu i Aran, Camp de Tarragona, Comarques Centrals, Comarques Gironines, Ponent or Lleida and Terres de l'Ebre.
- Penedès: Alt Penedès and Garraf (Àmbit metropolità de Barcelona); Baix Penedès (Camp de Tarragona); and Anoia (Comarques Centrals).
- Alt Ter: Osona and Ripollès, now in Comarques Centrals and Comarques gironines
- Official Penedès "Denominación de Orígen" website (in English, Spanish & Catalan)
- "Consejo Regulador de Cava" - Cava DO Regulator website (in English, Spanish & Catalan)
- Vilafranca official site: English version