Penedès is known most as the birthplace of Cava, but this Spanish region on the Mediterranean is now the next exciting stop on a tour that's reshaped my thinking on Spanish whites. Since 1996, Celler Pardas has been on a journey to show the serious side of Penedés still wines. Their Blau Cru, comprised of Malvasia de Sitges, captures Catalonia with a dry Riesling-like precision that floored me. Blau Cru continues to make a case for Spain's wine renaissance toward diamond-cut-focused whites.

Malvasia grows in many regions throughout Europe, each with a slightly different genetic makeup, though the wines commonly stand out for rich, oily texture and vivid floral qualities. In the upper Penedès, the limestone, 300-meter elevation, and influences from the Bitlles River bring a more straight-lined Malvasia that conjures Germany's Mosel. Blau Cru has a seamless texture and crystalline quality to the yellow stone fruits that screams mineral spring purity. This unusual juxtaposition in each sip was mesmerizing!

The other wine featured here, Collita Roja, is 100% old-vine Sumoll from the same limestone soils; the fruit is de-stemmed and fermented in stainless steel, then aged in used French barrique. Sumoll brings dark red-black fruits and savory spices wrapped together with a mildly chalky mineral sensation that drives through the long finish. I expected a roasted or jammy quality, but the underpinning salinity keeps everything crisp and vivacious.

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