Penedes is the most important viticultural area in northeastern Spain, and its vineyards also generate vast quantities of Spain's flagship sparkling wine, Cava. The climate here is predictably Mediterranean and the region can be divided into three climatic sub-zones. Baix Penedes covers the lower-lying, warmer areas, and specializes in the production of full-bodied red wines. Higher up in the altitude-cooled hills is Alt Penedes, where the freshest white-wine styles (and best grapes for Cava) are produced. In-between the two is Medio Penedes.Cava first began to be produced in Penedes in 1872 by Josep Raventos, who learned traditional method sparkling wine production while visiting the Champagne region. He produced it from native grape varieties of Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo. The first Cava to be produced with Chardonnay was made in 1981 by Codorniu, the estate owned by Raventos and today by his descendants.
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