Grape(s): 100% Primitivo
Localization: Salento IGT, Italy
Tasting Notes: Deep red wine with an intense nose of blackberry and plum. In the mouth it is warm, velvety and balanced. Very good matched with tasty main courses, roasted meats and cheeses.
The Domain: Leone de Castris is a wine producer in based in Salice Salentino, in the Puglia region of southern Italy. Red wines based on Negroamaro from its home DOCG are unsurprisingly the flagship products, along with a Primitivo di Manduria and the pioneering Five Roses rosé.
However a wide range of wines are made, under numerous subsidiary brands. Other red grapes include Syrah, Susumaniello and Malvasia Nera. White grape varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Fiano, Verdeca and Malvasia Bianca.
The company farms around 175 hectares (432 acres) of vineyards, spread across around 14 properties in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi, Bari and Taranto. Some of these farms have been owned by the family for centuries.
The company dates back to 1665, when Duke Oronzo, Earl of Lemos – the nephew of the Spanish Viceroy in Italy – sold his properties at home and planted vines, olive trees and wheat on several Salento acquisitions. In the early 19th Century the company was already shipping bulk wine to the United States, Germany and France. The company began bottling its own wine in 1925. This long history is celebrated in a public wine museum on the first floor of the winery.
Leone de Castris also claims the distinction of producing the first rosé wine made in Italy. The Negroamaro dominated Five Roses cuvée was first made in 1943 and is still a key part of the portfolio today.