The Incomparable Land of the Penedes

Jean Leon

28/10/2021

Jean Leon was a man known for his perseverance. In 1962 and after achieving his first dream—opening the most famous restaurant in Hollywood—he decided the time had come to make his own wine, thus fulfilling his second ambition.

He wanted to create a wine that would delight his select clientele in Los Angeles and for that he needed to find an extraordinary wine growing area. And he did, in the Penedes. A year later, in 1963, he founded the winery in the style of an authentic Bordeaux château.

Jean Leon was the first to produce Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays in Spain. He chose these particular varieties, because he knew they did very well and everything French had an air of exclusivity. At the time, his decision was truly revolutionary, especially to the eyes of local winegrowers.

But of all the areas in the Penedes, why did he choose this particular one? The answer is simple: soil and climate.

The climate

The climate conditions in this wine region are mild and warm, in other words typically Mediterranean. The region is sheltered from cold winds, but exposed to the Mistral and west winds. In addition, winds blowing in from the sea, known as marinadas, are common in summer.

The region receives lots of sunlight and frequent rainfall—two factors that greatly benefit grape ripening. The Penedes is nestled between the mountains and the sea, right in the center of the pre-coastal depression of Catalonia.

The region's terrain displays a stepped topography: from the Maritime Penedes, brushing up against the coastal mountain range, to the Central Penedes, nestled between Montserrat and the coast, and the Upper Penedes, with vineyards located at elevations of up to 700 meters that are the spitting image of a classic Central European vineyard.

Due to the region's mountainous terrain, the Penedes boasts a variety of microclimates with temperature shifts that increase with the elevation.

The Incomparable Land of the Penedès

The soil

Generally speaking, the soils are quaternary, calcareous and clayey. Grey-brown in color and poor in organic matter, this is ideal winegrowing soil, because it produces lower-yielding vineyards and, as a result, higher-quality grapes.

The climate and the soil played a key role in Jean Leon's decision to settle in the Penedès. His perseverance and tenacity were crucial to making his second dream a reality. In the end, time has proven him right.

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