Located at the very heart of the Penedès region in Catalonia, this is the only winery in the appellation to have achieved the Vino de Finca status equivalent to a grand cru. For some time now Jean Leon is part of the Torres wine group.
Most of the wines pay tribute to the founder. Santander-born Ceferino Carrión emigrated to the US where he changed his name to Jean Leon. Soon after, he opened a restaurant in Hollywood, named La Scala, together with actor James Dean. The place became very popular with film stars like Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando or Fred Astaire and Jean Leon eventually decided to make his own wine. He bought a estate with 150 hectares in Penedès where he planted French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay. He is considered to be behind Spain’s first single-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon.
Currently 70 hectares of vines are organically grown in the estate. Soils are mainly chalky with variable quantities of stones on the surface. Wines are named after the vineyards they come from, most of which refer to Jean Leon’s life. Named after his daughter, Vinya Gigi is a barrel-fermented Chardonnay (around €19 in Spain); Vinya Le Havre (€19) takes its name from the port where Leon set sail to the US. This is the winery’s flagship wine made mostly from Cabernet Sauvignon and a bit of Cabernet Franc. Vinya Palau (€19) is a single-vineyard Merlot while Vinya La Scala (€37) is the premium wine. Bearing the name of Jean Leon’s restaurant in Beverly Hills, it comes from the oldest plot planted in 1963.
The 3055 range, named after Jean Leon’s license number when he worked as a taxi driver in New York, includes a Chardonnay aged for two months in barrel, a Petit Verdot rosé and a blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot aged in oak for about four months. All these wines are sold for slightly under €10 in Spain.
Jean Leon is a leading name in terms of wine tourism in the Penedès area. The winery offers a wide array of activities beyond the usual tours and tastings including paring and dining experiences (even blindfolded sessions), biking, Segway or electric bike (locally known as burricleta) tours, theatrical visits, grape picking or blending experiences. Tasting options are numerous, with the option of taking part in a vertical tasting of their top red La Scala.
Find out Jean Leon’s wines in Spain and the rest of the world or enter its online store.