Salice Salentino is a small rural town of Salento which has been hosting for more than three centuries the ancient Leone de Castris winery.
It is the year 1665. Among the fertile vineyards of that time, Oronzo Arcangelo Maria Francesco dei Conti di Lemos, gave birth to the winery.
The founder became fond of such a fertile and rich land and he understood its value, therefore, after the first years of processing and transformation of the product, he went back to Spain, sold some properties, came back and invested the proceeds in Salento's lands.
Around Salice, Guagnano, Veglie, Villa Baldassarri, Novoli and San Pancrazio, he became the owner of several thousand hectares, on which he not only planted new vines, but also olive trees and wheat. At the beginning of the 1800's the winery began to export raw wine to the United States, Germany and France.
The winery starts bottling its products with Piero and Lisetta Leone de Castris, in 1925. In 1943 was born Five Roses, the most renowned product of the winery and the first rose wine to be bottled and sold in Italy and immediately exported in the United States of America.
The history of this wine is still remembered in the winery as one of the most significant events in the centuries-old history of the winery. In fact, there is a district in the Salice Salentino feud which is called "Cinque Rose" (Five Roses), a name due to the fact that for many generations the Leone de Castris family had five sons each, with incredible constancy. At the end of the war, general Charles Poletti, commissioner for supplies of allied forces, asked for a large supply of rose wine, whose grapes came from the Cinque Rose estate. But the general wanted a wine with an American name, and it did not take long to find it: "Five Roses" was born.
With the harvest of 1954 was born the Salice Leone de Castris and thanks to the commercialization in Italy and abroad for about 20 years was obtained the Doc Salice Salentino in the early 70's. Therefore, with the DOC, also other companies are proposed on the market.
The history of this family and of the winery continues. Cav. del Lavoro Salvatore Leone de Castris, son of Piero and Lisetta, has contributed to a remarkable development - also at international level - of the Company. Since twenty years his son, Dr. Piernicola, has been managing it. More and more prestigious awards are constantly given to the whole range of the company.
The foreign commercial network today sees the products present not only on the European markets, but also in the United States, Singapore, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, etc.. New vines have been planted in the family's winery: Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Montepulciano, alongside the traditional vines: Negroamaro, Malvasia nera, Verdeca, Bianco d'Alessano, Moscato, Aleatico, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Ottavianello.
The winery offers a wide range of products: red, white, rosé DOC wines (Salice Salentino, Locorotondo, Copertino, Primitivo di Manduria), interesting IGT wines from Salento and Puglia, rosé and white sparkling wines; a brandy and a particularly valuable oil. It also has a first class hotel "Villa Donna Lisa" equipped with sports facilities; it supports the daily visits of Italian and foreign delegations.
The average annual production is about 2.5 million bottles.
Leone de Castris is a winery which has been working in Apulia for centuries and only products from Apulia. For someone this could be a limitation, for us it is a peculiarity because our mission is the valorization of the products of the territory where we were born and raised.
Ultimately we can say that we represent more than 350 years of winemaking history looking to the future.
Five Roses Anniversary was first produced with the '93 vintage to mark the 50th anniversary of Five Roses. It is an extraordinary wine, the first rosé wine produced in Italy. It is produced from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes.
Brilliant cherry pink and heady aromas of blueberry and red currant accompanied by a floral note of rose. The taste is rich in fresh acidity, excellent structure with a fruity and persistent finish.
The grapes, after a soft crushing and destemming, are subjected to skin maceration (7-10° C) for a few hours, followed by the extraction of the must flower (about 35%) and the subsequent fermentation at controlled temperature (18-20°C).