Jean Leon Vinya Palau Merlot, Penedes

£21.50 / bottle

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Jean Leon Vinya Palau Merlot is a single vineyard, organic red wine from the Penedes wine-growing region of Spain. The wine pays homage Jean Leon’s hometown, Santander, the starting point for a life marked by extraordinary success. This organic, limited-production varietal wine originates from the Vinya Palau vineyard. The small 4-hectare lot is home to Merlot vines planted in 1991.

Jean Leon was born in Santander, moved with his family to Barcelona, and eventually manage to stow away on a ship bound from Le Havre in France to New York. After driving a cab and working as a busboy and waiter he eventually ended up in Hollywood working at the Villa Capri, a tinseltown restaurant owned by Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio. Soon he was rubbing shoulders with the good, the bad, politicians and movie stars and on April 1st 1956 he opened La Scala, a very famous Hollywood restaurant, which he co-owned with James Dean. Jean Leon became very interested in wine, indeed La Scala had an underground cellar with some 25,000 bottles in, and soon ended up in his home country of Spain looking to make a signature Jean Leon wine. He bought vineyards in 1962 and completed building a winery in 1963. Leon was a real pioneer in the Spanish wine industry, he immediately grubbed up all the local vines and replanted with single vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay – in fact, he is credited with being the first to release a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and 100% Chardonnay in Spain. The Torres family took control of Jean Leon wines in 1994 but the estate continues to be run as a separate entity from rest of their wines and remains true to Leon’s vision. Today the estate consists of some 63 hectares of vineyards in Penedes at an elevation of 600m. 

The 100% Merlot grapes for this wine are sourced from a the Vinya Palau vineyard, a 10 hectare vineyard planted in 1991. There are two soil types here, one consists of calcareous clay and the
other is sandy with high gravel content. The grapes are manually harvested which is followed by destemming and crushing. There follows an alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature of 26ºC in stainless steel vats which lasts around 20 days. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels (225
liters) for at least 12 months with malolactic fermentation. This is followed by bottle ageing for a period of at least six months prior to release. 

Wines produced at the Jean Leon estate are certified organic beginning with the 2012 vintage. This wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Tasting Notes

Jean Leon Vinya Palau Merlot has a vivid red colour with a deeply intense hue. On the nose it is notable for its hints of plum, ripe dark berries, liquorice and balsamics, all over a lightly toasted background. Mid-palate it is distinguished by its acidity which contributes freshness and length. It offers sweet tannins and is well rounded with a fleshy evolution.

Food Pairing

Ideal with poultry like duck magret served in a red berry sauce. Also pairs well with white fish like cod.


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