Jean Leon was an extraordinary individual. He had a rare instinct for staying ahead of his time. And he had the romantic gifts of a visionary, reinforced by a dynamic and tireless personality in the face of great challenges and obstacles.
The childhood of Ceferino Carrión—his given name—was plagued by misfortune. In 1941, a terrible fire in the city of Santander destroyed his family's home and possessions, forcing them to move to Barcelona. That same year, his father and older brother died tragically when the boat they were traveling on was hit by a torpedo.
Life might have dealt him a series of heavy blows, but that did nothing to discourage the young man from Santander. Quite the contrary, in fact. During the late 1940s and after emigrating to the United States, he began his career waiting tables in Hollywood at Villa Capri, a restaurant. owned by Frank Sinatra. The job granted him access to the film world and the chance to befriend the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age. Jean Leon's first important project grew out of his friendship with James Dean. Together they realized a shared dream: to open the most luxurious restaurant in Hollywood, which they called La Scala.
La Scala opened in 1956 and came to represent the glamour of the 1950s and 1960s like no other place on earth. It quickly became a gathering spot for influential actors, directors, producers and politicians. Everyone from Marilyn Monroe to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Paul Newman came to La Scala.
During the era that epitomized the American Way of Life, a time when everything seemed possible, Jean Leon encountered the ideal circumstances to realize his second big dream: to create his own namesake wine.
Jean Leon set out to make his namesake wine, one that would meet the high expectations of his select clientele. He began by traveling the world in search of an area with specific characteristics that would allow him to produce a signature wine with a unique personality and identity. Once he had found the right place, he substituted local varieties to produce the first Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays in Spain.
Nowadays, our wines are certified as Vi de Finca—or single vineyard wines—by the Catalan government. The certification acknowledges the unique character of single vineyard wines, the result of combining a specific variety, a certain type of soil and a microclimate that favors the wine's full expression.
Changing times call for new approaches. In 2008, we began introducing organic farming methods at our vineyards. As of the 2012 vintage, all of our wines are certified organic.
Our range of Single Vineyard Wines—Vinya La Scala, Vinya Le Havre, Vinya Palau and Vinya Gigi—is produced artisanally from the elegant varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Merlot. The wines are then aged in French and American oak. These factors are what give Jean Leon wines the unique characteristics that make them so exceptional.