Jean Leon: Penedès is the place to be

During our Instagram trips around Penedès I think I gave you enough reasons to visit us (also I’m super glad some of you emailed me asking for recommendations😄) but hopefully, today’s guest will give you one more reason.🍷😋

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Jean Leon winery is located in Torrelavit, a lovely village between Vilafranca del Penedès and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.

Jean Leon is not a Frenchman from Bordeaux 🇫🇷 as many people think (even some locals do so), but a Spaniard from Santander 🇪🇸 (Northern Spain) who immigrated to the US 🇺🇸 by sneaking onto a French ship. There, in New York, Ceferino Carrión, worked as a taxi driver 🚖 with the license number 3055. After a few years in NY, he headed to California where he changed his name and became Jean Leon. He started working in a restaurant, something which allowed him to meet countless Hollywood celebrities.

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Jean Leon boasts of pretty views, as every winery in Penedès does 😜. Featured here Jean Leon’s museum and the tasting room, for the winery itself see the photo below.

Jean Leon’s charm helped him to become friends with Hollywood stars like James Dean, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Liz Taylor, etc. After a couple of years of hard work and a lot of networking, he finally opened his own restaurant, which still exists – La Scala. By the way, Jean Leon served Marilyn Monroe her last dinner and was one of the last people to see her alive.

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Chateau Jean Leon, the winery itself.
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Infinite underground tunnels.

One of his big dreams, besides from having a restaurant, was making his own wine, as he often disliked the wines served in the restaurant. 🍷 To pursue his dream, he went to… yes, to PENEDÈS where he found the perfect terroir for his wines. He bought fields, planted vines and built up Château Jean Leon in Torrelavit. Jean Leon was the first to plant French grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay in Spain. Nowadays Jean Leon produces organic wine.

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Ceferino Carrión aka Jean Leon (Source: http://www.unarecetaunrecuerdo.com)

Jean Leon 3055:

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3055 stands for his taxi’s number. These three wines are young and especially vibrant. Petit Verdot (red), Chardonnay (white) and Pinot Noir (rosé).

Jean Leon, Vins de Finca (single vineyard wines):

Vinya Gigi, Chardonnay (my favourite one💓):

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Vinya Gigi (5 ha vineyard) is named after Jean Leon’s daughter, Gigi, who still runs La Scala restaurant in Beverly Hills. The wine undergoes barrel fermentation in French oak and it is aged for 6 months on its lees. Intensively aromatic with tropical fruits. Very creamy. Production: around 20.000 bottles a year. Price: 22,95€.

Vinya Palau, Merlot:

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Palau vineyard (10 ha), which symbolises the iconic Magdalena Palace (“palau” means “palace” in Catalan) in Jean Leon’s native Santander. Aged in French oak for a year. Fresh and light, very elegant with sweet tannins. Production: around 70.000 bottles a year. Price: 22,30€.

Vinya Le Havre, Cabernet Sauvignon with a small percentage of Cabernet Franc:

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Le Havre vineyard (19 ha), named after the French port Le Havre from where Jean Leon departed to the New World. Bold, yet elegant, with cherries on the palate and some spiced notes. It ages for 18 months in French and American oak. Production: around 70.000 a year. Price: 19,95€.

Vinya La Scala, Cabernet Sauvignon:

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The most iconic of the Jean Leon wines from La Scala vineyard (8 ha) named after his restaurant in the US. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Powerful, deep. Smooth. High in tannins, but balanced. 24 months in French oak. Production: from 5000 to 20.000 a year, only the best years. Price: 36,72€*.

*(Approximate prices)

If Jean Leon, from all the places in the world, chose Penedès for his winery, why don’t you choose it as your next holiday destination? 😎

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