The Jean Leon winery from Penedès preserves the legacy of its founder, one of the great innovators in the history of Spanish wine.
The origins of the Jean Leon winery are inextricably linked to the eventful biography of its eponymous founder. Indeed, Jean Leon's colourful life story resembles an old black and white film from Hollywood's golden age.
Ceferino Carrión, the real name of Jean Leon, was born in 1928 in Santander. After a long series of misfortunes, which included a fire that totally destroyed the family home in 1941, the Carrions were forced to move to Barcelona. Things did not get better, though, so at age 19 a young Ceferino Carrión decided to seek his fortune overseas. After a hazardous journey, he finally made it to America: first to New York, and then to Hollywood. Once there, he changed his name to Jean Leon and spent a short period of time in the army. Back in town, he found a job as a waiter in the Villa Capri restaurant, owned by Frank Sinatra and baseball legend Joe di Maggio. The job gave him the opportunity of getting to know many stars of the era, like Grace Kelly and James Dean. An entrepreneur by nature, in 1956 Jean Leon opened his own restaurant, La Scala, in partnership with James Dean. The place was an instant success, and soon became a celebrity meeting point.
Passionate about food and wine, Jean Leon decided to craft a special wine with his own name so he could serve it in his restaurant. Thus, in 1962 he bought several hectares of high-quality land in Penedès, and substituted the local varieties for the international ones Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. He also built a Château-styled winery, which was finished in 1963.
The first vintage of Jean Leon was 1969. The resulting wine, Jean Leon Gran Reserva was released in 1971 It was the first varietal Cabernet Sauvignon produced in Spain.
In 1973, Jean Leon Vinya Gigi Chardonnay, the first Chardonnay fermented in oak produced in Spain, was put on the market.
Due to his poor health, in 1994 Jean Leon sold his winery to the Torres family, which agreed to preserve the innovative spirit and the guiding principles of the founder.
Since 2012, all of Jean Leon's wines are made from organically certified grapevines. The company was also the first winery in Penedès to obtain the “Vino de Finca” (estate wine) certification.
At the beginning of the XXIth century, the Jean Leon winery started to produce wines from Penedès' native varieties. Thus, the circle was closed.
- Year of foundation: 1964
- Address: Camí Mas de Rovira, Châteu Leon s/n
- City: Torrelavit
- Province: Barcelona
- Zip code: 08775
- Country: Spain
- Phone number: 34 938 177 690
- Guided visits? Yes
- Wine tourism services? Yes
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