Léon is a Spanish APELLATION (DO) for wines located in the south of the province of Léon, in Castile-Leon region, Spain, and covers an area of 3,317 km2 at an altitude of approximately 900 m above sea level. The area attained its D.O. status on 27 July 2007.
In 1985, a group of producers applied for DO status based on the promotion of the local autochthonous grape variety known as Prieto Picudo.
The variations that occur in the soils suitable for vineyard cultivation in the Leon plateau, are all located under the altitude of 900 m. They are seated soils on alluvial terraces, both the pardos on stony deposits, and the limestone on soft materials, possess features that make that it be considered as the most suitable for the cultivation of wine quality, and proof of this, is the large denominations of origin of Castilla y León to settle mostly on this type of soil. They are soils with excellent conditions of internal drainage, with acceptable capacity of water retention, ease of aeration and pervasiveness of the roots, low in mineral salts, depth, content proper of limestone and poverty in organic matter.
The influence of the Atlantic and the North should soften their temperatures and abundant rainfall, but the high altitude of the plateau where and the edge of the mountainous relief of the Cantabrian mountain range, modify the climatic characteristics, giving rise to a strong continental, where the most outstanding characteristics are: temperature extremes between day and night
Prieto Picudo is a rare, dark-skinned variety grown predominantly in and around its homeland of Leon, northern Spain. The variety is used to create both light rosés and deeply pigmented reds, and can be found as a single-variety wine or in blends with Tempranillo or Mencia.
The aromatic variety gives intense color to wine, more so than most other varieties grown in Castilla y Leon. It is sometimes likened to Tempranillo in this respect. Prieto Picudo has sufficient tannins, retains good acidity and responds well to oak treatments. It makes wines which are intense in terms of both color and flavor, showing redcurrant, blackberry and licorice flavors. These wines often have mineral notes (a trait common to many D.O Léon wines), as well as vanilla and toast where oak has been used. Rosé wines tend to show aromas of strawberry and raspberry with touches of peach, citrus and flowers.