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  Wine Producers Issue 40, April 2006   
Leone de CastrisLeone de Castris Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 39, March 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 41, May 2006

Leone de Castris

Among the historical wineries of Italy, with more that 80 years of activity, and among the most famous wineries of Apulia, brings the typical wines of Salice Salentino in the world, focusing on autochthonous grapes while experimenting with international ones

 The history of the wine from Apulia and of Leone De Castris winery are parallel. The company was established in 1925, from the the marriage between Piero Francesco Leone (1904-1993) and Anna Luisa Filippa de Castris (1901-1950), who joined the two most important families of Salice Salentino. Piero Francesco Leone, second of five sons, when his father passed away, worked to the management of the estates, made of buildings and lands in which he started a transformation process of cultures, planting vineyards on lands which were cultivated with wheat, and managing them “in economy” and part with the help pf many local farmers. Piero, at the age of 20, managed a land patrimony of more than 2,000 hectares (about 50 acres) between Salice, Guagnano, Campi, San Pancrazio and Sandonaci. He was a farmer and became a viticulturist, showing qualities of agronomist, enologist and expert manager. During the 1920's, he further developed wine production in its winery and in 1925 made the first bottling in Apulia, slowly improved in the following years, after having adopted the most modern systems, with the application of new technological processes he learned in his travels and contacts with the most important Italian wineries (from Tuscany and Piedmont) and French ones.


The historical headquarter of Leone De Castris
The historical headquarter of Leone De Castris

 Piero renovated the vineyards, built a modern plant with electrical wine presses, which replaced screw and wood ones; vats and fermentation tanks in cement, adopted modern technologies in the winery and modernized the management of the company, thanks to the collaboration of expert enologists. In 1943 was born Five Roses and then 1954 Salice Salentino, followed a wide range of fine wines. At the end of 1960's, the general management was passed to Salvatore Leone de Castris, son of Piero and Lisetta, who strongly contributed to a new expansion also in the most important international markets. In the 1980's the son Piernicola Leone de Castris joined the company, in charge for commercial aspects and then for general management since the end of 1990's. Piernicola, who manages the company form more than a decade now and with remarkable spirit of management, represents the third generation, after the grandfather Piero and his father Salvatore, of a great winery renowned since the times of World War Two, although the origin of the business dates back to the seventeenth century.

 Leone de Castris winery's capacity to join management and quality of products, a strong relationship, in the course of the years has been the base for bottling experimentation in rose wines and then for the other wine styles. The winery produces interesting DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines, sparkling wines, a grape distillate and an extra-virgin olive oil. The winery “mission” is: «We want to valorize Salento wines all over the world». Leone de Castris' vineyards are situated in lands of ancient and proven viticulture tradition: Salento. The windy and sunny old vineyards are always fertilized with traditional organic substances and worked by expert hands, with the result of a highly selected production. The transformation of the grapes produced in these lands and vineyards, harvested at the right time of ripeness, into noble wines of superior quality, is a precise commitment, improved by the continuous updating of vinification techniques: always updated to satisfy the more exacting expectations of consumers.


 

 Leone de Castris winery, in fact, was the first one in Italy to bottle and sell rose wines. In addition to traditional grape varieties (Negroamaro, Primitivo, Malvasia Nera, Verdeca, Aleatico and Muscat), have been introduced some new varieties (Montepulciano, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), but the main strategic choice is the valorization of autochthonous grape varieties. The winery's cellars cover a wide area. They include a complete bottling line, sterilization and refrigeration equipments; cool and dry cellars for the aging in bottle of some wines, departments for packaging and the automatic storing of empty bottles. The winery also has a large tasting room, a reception and facilities making the winery perfectly efficient and autonomous in every aspect. The efforts for the modernization of the plant, in caring and selecting grapes, in the production of wines reflecting the soul of the territory, have made Leone de Castris winery a highly competitive model and reference point for wine production in Apulia.


The cellar
The cellar

 The appreciation obtained by Leone de Castris wines from connoisseurs, is the result of different favorable natural circumstances, of the experience and constant commitment. Lands particularly suited to the cultivation of vineyards, perfectly ripe grapes, appropriate vinification and aging: these are the secrets of success making Leone de Castris wines a favorite choice among consumers. There are different product lines: “Great tradition”, “Wines aged in barrique”, “New generation” and “Sparkling wines”. “Great tradition” includes Salice Salentino Riserva DOC, the well known Five Roses produced with Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes, and Negrino Salice Salentino DOC, a sweet wine from Aleatico grapes. “Rare wines” range includes Pierale, a sweet wine produced with muscat grapes and dedicated to the last generation of de Castris family; Villa Santera, a Primitivo di Manduria DOC; La Rena (Salento Primitivo IGT); Vigne Case Alte Sauvignon, white IGT; Messapia (white Salento IGT); Imago, Salento Chardonnay IGT; Negroamaro Elo Veni, red Salento IGT; Truppere, a Salento Primitivo IGT, which label mention Zinfandel grape.

 “Wines aged in barrique” range includes four products: Illemos, a Salento red IGT, produced since 1997; Donna Lisa, white Salice Salentino DOC; Donna Lisa, red Salice Salentino reserve DOC; Messere Andrea, red Salice Salentino DOC. The products of “The new generation” range are: Maiana, red Salice Salentino DOC; Maiana Rosè DOC; Maiana Bianco DOC; Locorotondo DOC; Ursi, a natural fermentation white sparkling wine produced with Verdeca and Chardonnay grapes; Medaglione red Salento IGT; Medaglione rosato Salento IGT; Medaglione bianco Salento IGT. Moreover, Leone de Castris produces two brut sparkling wines: Donna Lisetta, from Pinot Nero grapes vinified in white and Don Piero, from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero grapes, both dedicated to the ancestors. Finally, the Apulian winery produces a “Nouveau” wine, Salentinello, obtained with carbonic maceration of Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Montepulciano grapes.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Salento Salentino Rosso Riserva 2002, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Salentino Rosso Riserva 2002
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Negroamaro (90%), Malvasia Nera (10%)
Price: € 8.20 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black cherry and blackberry followed by aromas of blueberry, plum, violet, vanilla and hints of rubber. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry and blackberry. This Salice Salentino Reserve ages for 12 months in cask.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Salento Salentino Bianco Donna Lisa 2004, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Salentino Bianco Donna Lisa 2004
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Chardonnay
Price: € 14.00 Score:
Donna Lisa Bianco shows an intense golden yellow color and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of apple, plum and pear followed by aromas of citrus fruits, hawthorn, broom, pineapple, peach, vanilla and grapefruit. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, plum and pear. This wine ages for about 9 months in barrique.
Food Match: Stuffed pasta, Mushrooms soups, Broiled fish, Roasted white meat



Salento Five Roses Anniversario 2005, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Five Roses Anniversario 2005
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Negroamaro (80%), Malvasia Nera (20%)
Price: € 8.40 Score:   Good value wine
This wine shows a brilliant salmon pink color and nuances of pale pink, transparent. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of cherry, raspberry and peach followed by aromas of strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, plum, cyclamen and hawthorn. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a crisp attack and pleasing roundness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum. Five Rose Anniversario ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Pasta with meat and fish, Roasted fish, Roasted white meat, Mushrooms soups



Salento Il Lemos 2001, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Il Lemos 2001
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo (50%), Neogroamaro (10%), Montepulciano (20%), Merlot (20%)
Price: € 19.00 Score:
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with hints of black cherry, plum and blackberry followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry, violet, vanilla, pink pepper and carob. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry. Il Lemos ages for about 14 months in barrique.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Braised meat, Hard cheese



Salento Messere Andrea 2002, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Messere Andrea 2002
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Negroamaro (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%)
Price: € 15.00 Score:
The wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of plum, blackberry and black cherry followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, vanilla, cyclamen, licorice and carob. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum and black cherry. Messere Andrea ages for about 12 months in barrique.
Food Match: Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat, Hard cheese



Salento Salentino Rosso Riserva Donna Lisa 2001, Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Salento Salentino Rosso Riserva Donna Lisa 2001
Leone de Castris (Apulia, Italy)
Grapes: Negroamaro (90%), Malvasia Nera (10%)
Price: € 24.00 Score:
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of garnet red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas which start with hints of black cherry, plum and blackberry followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, raspberry, vanilla, licorice, cocoa and mace. The mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum and black cherry. Donna Lisa Rosso Riserva ages for about 18 months in barrique.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Braised and stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Leone De Castris - Via Senatore de Castris, 26 - 73015, Salice Salentino, Lecce (Italy) - Tel. +39 832 731112 Fax. +39 832 731114 - Winemaker: Giovanni Dimastrogiovanni - Established: 1925 - Production: 2.500.000 bottles - E-Mail: info@leonedecastris.com - WEB: www.leonedecastris.com


 Wine Tasting  Share this article     Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 40, April 2006   
Leone de CastrisLeone de Castris Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 39, March 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 41, May 2006

Cellar Journal


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 Wine Tasting  Share this article     Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 40, April 2006   
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