Looking to the past to better face the future



Last October 12, it was 60 years ago that Jean Leon formalized the purchase of the property in Torrelavit, the place chosen to give shape and materialize his dream of making his wines.

His dream of a “château” like in Bordeaux was to have one of the best vineyards in the Penedès, but the varieties that were planted did not fit. Faced with the refusal of French nurserymen to sell him the typical Bordeaux or Burgundy vines, everyone knows the origin of the pruning cuttings that were used to prune the existing vines. Thus, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay wines continue to be made with grapes from the most prestigious “Crus” of the most prestigious winegrowing areas of the moment.

He was planting of the Merlot variety in 1991 took a different route: replacing the Pinot Noir vines planted in an area that was too warm to produce a Burgundy-style wine with others to produce what would become one of the most renowned Sain-Émilion-style Merlots.

Little did Jean Leon imagine that this “right bank” variety, the basis for what he considered to be the best wine in the world, would suffer the most from the effects of climate change that would become more acute in the new century.

The introduction of varieties such as petit verdot has been a success, and the Jean Leon winery has managed to demonstrate its good potential in this terroir, as well as its ability to achieve optimum ripeness vintage after vintage, so that the appellation has incorporated it among the accepted varieties.

But we must continue to think about the future, so the planting of two recovered ancestral varieties is beginning to bear fruit with a new Jean Leon Experimental Wine that has just been released on the market.

We planted the forcada (white) and moneu (red) varieties three years ago and the results are very promising, with specific projects for these varieties.

Jean Leon's Experimental Wines are a limited series of single-varietal wines where our winemaking team interprets this variety. With productions of between two thousand and three thousand bottles, these wines express the purity, delicacy and exceptional terroir of the Jean Leon estate.

The new Experimental of the Forcada variety, aged 6 months on its fine lees, shows floral notes, with some white fruit on the nose. But it maintains that surprisingly fresh character, almost like an Atlantic wine, with its vivacity and freshness on the palate. The work with its lees gives it a certain amplitude, but without taking away an iota of its own acidity.

A white wine that Jean Leon himself would surely approve, and that gathers certain notes of the great wines from cool areas, but in this case, produced in the heart of the Penedès at a time of a climatic challenge that is undeniable.

Dare to try Jean Leon's new Experimental Wine FO-22, a wine of the future, but with a variety that takes us back to the viticultural past before the arrival of the phylloxera plague.


Sergi Castro, sommelier of Jean Leon

Categorías: Wine