Storia di vino e amore.
I was 6 years old on vacations in my hometown (Giovinazzo) with my maternal grandparents. I remember three things… my grandfather who used to take me to the sea in a place called The Three Columns, in the outer limit of access to the small port of the town, wearing an elegant double-breasted suit. Can you imagine being at the sea dressed like that?
The unmistakable scent, upon returning home from the grandmother Gina, of the beans cooked in the “Pignatello”. And lunch with them.
At twelve o’clock my grandfather wanted to eat, the dishes had to be on the table, he was very demanding from this point of view! While my grandmother was serving us, my grandfather poured the wine, ruby red, so thick that once drunk it left a purplish color on the glass, an indelible memory. My grandmother served him with water, he just made me smell it. I also have a, albeit vague, memory of all the things he told me about wine and the stories related to this during the First World War on the Austrian front “in the cold trenches”.
Sometimes he made me taste it, he drank it in a small glass that my grandmother promptly got up to take following the instructions of the Marshal, that was grandfather Gabriele. I tasted that dark, pungent nectar. I remember that it didn’t seem very pleasant but at the end of the meal the grandfather cut a peach and dipped it in his glass with the remaining wine, he made it macerate for a few minutes and then with taste he ate it, it was his unmistakable end meal! I also tasted it sometimes and it was appreciable for me at that age, then with the years it changes, but the grandfather did not. I remember that until his last meal he drank red wine and plunged it into peach or another seasonal fruit.
I, instead, during the adolescent period, with friends I drank only beer, of all kinds. But then at twenty-five I discovered wine again. Because of my work I started traveling in all regions of Italy. I used to eat mainly in trattorias, taverns and family-run restaurants. When I requested the dishes of the place, the restaurant owner promptly offered me the local wine and so in those years I began to fall in love with the regional wine. With light dishes or fish, white, with strong dishes or meat, red, with pizza, salmon and some kind of pasta, rosé. Over time I came to know an infinity of regional wines that I never thought existed.
In 1999 during a car trip in Belgium I went with local friends to a supermarket after the Belgian border, in France. I bought about eight / ten cases of French wines which I brought to Giovinazzo in my private cellar, all in stone, at Palazzo Morola, which at the time was owned by my family. Tasting French wines including other differences and it was thus that the idea of traveling to discover other wines was born. I organized a trip to Spain, in the Andalusia region, and I began to learn about Spanish wines. I wanted to learn more and enrolled in a course at the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association), where I discovered another world and the love for wine has become a partnership.
A few years later, I was in Poland for a business consultancy job and seeing the big shortage of international wines and in particular the Italian ones I opened an import-export company of wines and food products. Also in Poland, later, I opened specialized shops, wine shops with wine and food tastings, wine clubs, etc.
I have sold over eight hundred Italian wine labels across Europe.
Hence the idea of creating a selection of regional and international wines to give my impression to the wine market. And here is the idea of the “Leone” brand in honor of grandfather Gabriele Leone who introduced me to wine for the first time.
I dedicate the success of this label to my mother and my father Giuseppina Leone and Italo Ciccarelli, and to my aunts Leone Chiara and Maria and their husbands who helped me grow with love.
Many others should mention my family, like my children who, by not giving me any cause for concern, made me grow faster at a professional level.
A special thanks to my life partner Wendys who follows me always and everywhere in my many projects and trips.
I must also thank for my growth in this beautiful sector of Made in Italy, Enzo Scivetti, Mimmo Arceri, Stefano Farina wines, the group from Padova, Intercooper from Benevento, Libero Rillo, Patrizia Leonardi, Domenico Pulcino, Gianni de Carlo, Salvatore Falato and the KKW club of wine women in Poland. With this club every year we organize a trip together to always know new wines.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone and I also thank all the companies that are collaborating with me on this project.