When it comes to raising a glass in Catalunya, there are plenty of bubbles to choose from, with not one, but two sparkling wine designations in the region. We’re all familiar with the most famous one, DO Cava, but since 2013 a lesser-known appellation has existed—Clàssic Penedès—which represents sparkling wines originating from the DO Penedès area. The new designation was created because a number of producers in the multi-regional DO Cava grew dissatisfied with the industrialisation of the appellation, and wanted to differentiate products coming from the Penedès region.
So, Clàssic Penedès was created as a more stringent and distinct sparkling wine. For starters, all wines must be made from organic grapes—this is the first sparkling wine designation in the world to introduce this requirement. The minimum ageing time is also 15 months, as opposed to the nine-month requirement of the DO Cava. Most importantly, all of the grapes must be from the DO Penedès region, whilst cava producers can source grapes from various regions all over Spain.
In a tasting session at the DO’s headquarters, I came across the following two wines that showed different sides to this new designation.
Albet i Noya - Brut 21 2012
Pale straw in colour. Notes of the lees, white blossoms and white pear. Light red apple notes in the body, medium-plus body, medium acidity and finish. Holds a great deal of singular character. €16
Clos Lentiscus - Blanc de Blancs 2012
A natural wine producer that uses the honey from their own beehives for the liqueur de tirage. Made from 100 percent Malvasia. Pale lemon in colour. Honey, white blossoms, fresh lemon zest, melon, medium-plus acidity, bright and lively. €17
Miquel Hudin is a sommelier originally from California but now based in Barcelona. He founded the Vinologue series of wine books.