Leone de Castris

Leone de Castris

The De Castris are a dynasty that produces Italian wine famous all over the world, in particular the Rosè Five Roses wine and the Salice Salentino Riserva Donna Lisa red wine are highly appreciated.

There is often something somewhat Spanish in the south of Italy, a reflection, in all probability both of the area’s geography and, as well, to the many centuries of Spanish occupation of this part of the peninsula. Just to cite a few of the similarities: the hot and dry climate, the classic Mediterranean diet, the daily schedule which imposes a mid-day res to avoidf working under a broiling soil, the courtliness and deference of social customs, the importance of titles in the stratified society of the past, and the many large properties which covered the single territories and dominated them in a virtually feudal way.

The estate of the Leone de Castris family (though dynasty would perhaps be a more proper term) is, in fact, very Spanish indeed: its descends from a series of Spanish viceroys sent to Italy to serve the crown and administer his domains. They were quick to see the agricultural potential of Puglia’s Salento peninsula and were equally quick to acquire land in the area, reaching at a certain point some 12,500 acres of property. And in 1665 Oronzo Arcangelo Maria Francesco dei Conti di Lemos constructed the cellars which, for centuries, have fermented and aged the wines.

A pioneering bottler of their own wine (in an area where the practice was virtually unknown) in 1925,  the family, in 1943, produced its Five Roses Rosato, the first Italian rosé to be marketed in bottle, first saw the light of day, and  followed it in 1954 with the first Salice, another pioneering step given that the appellation as such did not even exist.

The estate now cultivates a more “modest” 750 acres of vineyards and continues as one of the major names of Puglia; recent years have seen the decision to move further up the quality ladder, engaging in a major movethe services of star consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella. Cotarella, however, has no desire to revolutionize anything, his objective is to build on the centuries of tradition which already exist, and results have been quick to come. As exemplified by the fine Five Roses 72° Anniversario Rosato and the Donna Lisa Malvasia. Not to speak of the excellent Salice Saletino Rosso Riserva 50° Anniversario and the Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva Donna Lisa.


Leone De Castris Wines

Appellation: Salice Salentino D.O.C. Rosso Riserva
Grapes: Negroamaro (90%); Malvasia Nera di Lecce (10%)
Alcohol: 14,5°

Appellation: Salento I.G.T.
Grapes: Negroamaro (80%); Malvasia Nera di Lecce (20%)
Alcohol: 14°

Appellation: Salice Salentino D.O.C. Rosso
Grapes: Negroamaro 100%
Alcohol: 15°

Appellation: Salice Salentino D.O.C. Rosso Riserva
Grapes: Negroamaro (90%); Malvasia Nera di Lecce (10%)
Alcohol: 13,5°