The company is one of the longest-lived in Italy, in fact it was founded in 1665 by Oronzo Arcangelo Maria Francesco dei Conti di Lemos, originally from Spain. The founder became passionate about this fertile and rich area and invested in the purchase of new land around Salice, Guagnano, Veglie, Villa Baldassarri, Novoli and San Pancrazio. At the beginning of the 19th century, the company already began to export raw wine to the United States, Germany and France. The winery began bottling thanks to Piero and Lisetta Leone de Castris in 1925. In 1943 the legendary Five Roses was born, the first rosé bottled in Italy. The story is curious and emblematic: there is a district among the lands of Salice Salentino called “Cinque Rose” because the various generations of the family always had five children with incredible constancy. At the end of the war, the American general Charles Poletti, falling in love with this rosé wine, asked for a large supply to be sent to the United States, renaming it Five Roses. Today the production includes about 2 and a half million bottles produced and the more traditional vines (Negroamaro, Malvasia nera, Verdeca, Bianco d’Alessano, Moscato, Aleatico, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Ottavianello) have also been joined by international vines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon . The commercial network nowadays exports Italian and Apulian quality all over the world.
The grapes are usually harvested around the second half of September after a short period of over-ripening. Immediately these are pressed and placed in stainless steel for fermentation. At the end of this procedure, the wine is placed in barrels where it ages for 3 months with a subsequent 3 months of rest after bottling.
At sight the wine has an intense ruby red color with a purplish edge. On the nose hints of plum and black cherry, with notes of rose and violet and leather. Warm, enveloping and full-bodied in the mouth, closed by good acidity and light tannins. Long and persistent finish.
Leone de Castris Primitivo “Villa Santera” is a classic of the Apulian territory, known for its power on the palate and for its pleasant sensations of red fruit. I would combine it with hearty and tasty meat dishes, preferably baked or grilled and also quite cooked, as long as they are not particularly oily or fatty.