Profile of Jean Leon Winery, Penedes
The story behind the Jean Leon winery, in Spain's Mediterranean Wine Region of Penedes, is literally something out of Hollywood. Born as Ceferino Carrión in Santander, Spain in 1928, Jean León was always ambitious. At 19, he left Spain to find his luck in Paris, New York and ultimately Hollywood. He founded the world famous California restaurant, "La Scala" in Beverly Hills. What many people don't know is that he started the restaurant in partnership with James Dean. The gourmet establishment became the haunt of many famous actors and performers of the time.
However, despite his huge success in America, Jean Leon still missed his native Spain. He decided to use his well-known name (respected in gastronomic and enological circles in the US) to return to Spain and create a world-class winery. That was back in 1963. His was one of the first wineries to pioneer the concept of a "single vineyard estate", virtually unheard of during the Franco years and religious cooperatives. This concept is called "Pago" and is still not the norm in Spain. Jean Leon also broke tradition by importing French grape varietals, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. He believed that these grapes suited the balmy Mediterranean climate perfectly.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Jean Leon's wines today are some of the best in Spain. He has a joint partnership with another visionary wine personality, Miguel Torres. The estate is located in a truly privileged position, nestled at the top of a hill with sweeping views of the valley. The region of Penedes is a true delight for the wine tourist, close to the sea, full of medieval villages and boasting some of the best cuisine in Spain
1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva: Gold Medal at the Challenge International du Vin 2003, France
2001 Terrasola Syrah-Cariñena: Gold Medal Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2003, Belgium
Winery Facts & Figures
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