Jean Leon – La Scala 2009

The Jean Leon winery is one of the more interesting projects up in Penedès and it’s something of a crown jewel in the ‘experimental’ wineries that Torres owns. I’ve tasting a number of wines from the cellar in recent years. Their 3055 Merlot Petit Verdot is fully-enjoyable wine that’s very well priced. The Vinya de Gigi of 100% Chardonnay showed well up against other regional stalwarts when I did a comprehensive white wines of Catalunya tasting for a Decanter article earlier this year. And then on my birthday, I managed to get my hands on a bottle of the 1985 La Scala which was seriously interesting to behold as it’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, needs hours to open up and is luscious and powdery once it does.

This winery is unique in Catalunya as it specializes in having only French grapes to work with and all of the wines that emerge are based upon these northern guests. They also lay claim to four of the Vi de Finca wines which is no small feat.

So it was quite enjoyable to dig into this much more recent version of La Scala, a wine that is apparently a Gran Reserva. So few wineries in Catalunya make use of this aging notation that is usually only found in Rioja and Ribera del Duero which simply states that the wine has spent 1.5 years in barrel (2 in the case of the aforementioned regions) and three in bottle. Does this imbue any grand difference to the wine? Not necessarily which is why so few opt for it as they just prefer to bottle and release the wine “when it’s ready”. In this case of this La Scala, it is indeed very much ready and will continue to be ready for some time as it has years of evolution still in it.

La Scala 2009
Dark, inky ruby, no rim variation. Dark plum, mature strawberries, rich chocolate, light green pepper, dash of cedar, butter, clean and crisp chalky mineral notes. High tannins and crisp plum in the mouth, medium plus acidity and a medium plus finish. Well balanced Southern Europe Cab.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon 13.5% 37€