Jean Leon

The Jean Leon winery

Jean Leon is one of the best wineries close to Barcelona

The winery was founded in 1969 by Jean Leon - a Spaniard who founded one of Hollywood's most prestigious restaurants, the legendary La Scala. Jean Leon later started producing his own wine for the restaurant in a winery in his native Spain. This winery continues to produce some of the best wines of the Penedès, not far from Barcelona.

- Read more about our winery tour to Jean León

History of the wine maker

Jean Leon's real name was Carrión Ceferino Madrazo. Cefarino was born in Santander in northern Spain in 1928, but when the family's house burnt down in 1941 the young Ceferino moved with his family to Barcelona.

Ceferino's oldest brother and father died during the Second World War and Ceferino moved to Paris. From there he went to the U.S. and entered the army, and so obtained U.S. citizenship and changed his name to Jean Leon. In 1950 Jean Leon reached Hollywood

In Hollywood Jean Leon got a job at the restaurant of Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio and in 1956 he founded his own restaurant La Scala, together with James Dean. The restaurant became the most famous of Hollywood and so Jean Leon met many movie stars. He even served the last supper to Marilyn Monroe at her home on the night of her death.

In 1964 he bought 150 acres of land in Penedès (Torrelavit), west of Barcelona. His friend Jaume Rovira worked here as a winemaker and the first bottle was marketed in 1973. However, most of the wines continued being sold to customers in the La Scala restaurant in Hollywood.

The winery was founded in 1969. Here, Jean Leon surprised the producers in the region restroying the old vineyards and planting new noble vines varieties from France. Jean Leon was the first person to plant Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in Spain.

Jean Leon so revolutionized Spanish wine. The way he worked was like how it was traditionally done on the French chateaux: all grapes were produced by the winery (a concept which in Spain is called "vino de pago") and the wines fermented in French oak barrels, even the white wines.

Jean Leon gave the following names to his 4 vineyards: La Scala, Le Havre, Gigi and Palau.


Wines

  • Vinya Reserve Le Havre (close to 100% cabernet sauvignon)
  • Gran Reserva Vinya La Scala (close to 100% cabernet sauvignon)
  • Merlot Palau Vinya
  • Gigi Chardonnay Vinya
  • Zemi (coupage)
After the death of Jean Leon in 1996 the winery was acquired by Bodegas Torres.

Spanish wine regions and wine makers

Wine Tours in Spain

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