Levin Gothenburg & Archipelago Adventure

Mister L and I took the most wonderful trip to #Gothenburg #Sweden this past week. We visited our wonderful agent Lena Magneby from Swedish Brands @swedishbrandwines who was the most amazing host and guided us to all the smart places serving Levin Wines. We felt like we experienced every vibrant element of Sweden’s sleek second city, starting with a warm Scandinavian welcome from Lena who whisked us away from Gothenburg Airport to our first visit (and had gratefully warned us to bring warms coats).

Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant Gabriel

First, we dropped into meet the visionary hotelier, Thomas Petersen of the Dorsia Hotel. It really was the most extraordinary boutique hotel, decorated after the style of La Belle Époque, with a restaurant and champagne bar. With its theatrical velvet curtains and jacquard carpets, it felt like stepping onto film set – incredibly luxe!  (Trädgårdsgatan 6, 411 08 Göteborg, Sweden,  http://www.dorsia.se/en/)

Next stop, Fiskekyrka translating to fish church, a marketplace to worship all things piscatorial. On the mezzanine, we visited Restaurant Gabriel and charming chef and host Johan Malm, second-generation owner and World Champion Oyster Opening. We had fabulous pickled herrings, fish soup topped with mussels, Swedish/Japanese oysters (translation doesn’t work), freshest grilled plaice with new potatoes grilled mushrooms, finishing with the lightest berry, chocolate and meringue dessert.  (Feskekörka, 411 20 Göteborg, Phone: 031-13 90 51 http://restauranggabriel.se &  http://www.xn--feskekrka-57a.se/)

Flour & Flower market

Then we walked around Gothenburg and discovered the most wonderful bakery where they mill and sell their own flour. Then we went up a set of stairs, through a cobbled courtyard and found a flower shop, then rambled down to food market, with Swedish cheese and stalls of organic and local produce.

Hotel Pigalle

Next, we checked into Hotel Pigalle playfully decorated in 1900s Parisian grandeur. Everything about this hotel, restaurant and bar was stylish, plush and sultry. We stayed in the Belle Suite, which included a fantasy champagne fridge chilling Dom Perignon, Cristal, Bruno Paillard, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, 1988 RD Bollinger in magnum, bottle and half bottle. The dressing room was right out of the Belle Epoch, with a stunning bedroom, with a sitting room and even its own boutique shopping range. (Södra Hamngatan 2a, 411 06 Gothenburg, https://www.hotelpigalle.se/en/)

SK Mat & Människor

After a quick stop to the Gothenburg Museum of Art and a brilliant restaurant and bar with stunning cocktails and, of course, Levin Sauvignon Blanc, we had dinner at the sensational SK Mat & Människor. Owned by Visitas Hall of Fame chef Stefan Karlsson, the restaurant opened in 2014 and received its Michelin star in 2015 for its Swedish seasonal menu. We started with White asparagus with beurre blanc and vendace roe; followed by Tartar of local beef topside with cucumber, Swedish vinegar, dried egg yolk, capers and horseradish cream; then Cod with grains cooked in broth, spilt peas Swedish chorizo and dill jus; finally, Rhubarb two ways with white chocolate and yoghurt pudding, almond cake and vanilla ice cream. We’re so delighted to have 2011 Levin Sauvignon Blanc listed there! (Johannebergsgatan 24; 412 55 Göteborg, http://en.skmat.se/)


On Thursday, we took a drive and ferry to the Island of Marstrand. A very picturesque little Island, where King Oscar II of Sweden built his summer house, which now operates as the Grand Hotel Marstrand. After a tasting of the range with Anders (2011 Levin Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon en magnum, 2015 Le Vin de LEVIN Pinot Noir, 2010 Madame L Gamay, 2012 Mr L Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Levin Noble Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc), we enjoyed simple and delicious lunch of Cod with fresh grated horseradish, shrimp, pickled egg, new potatoes. Afterwards, Mr L cheekily asked for pudding. Though there was nothing prepared, the kitchen hand was sent to pick some wild rhubarb growing at the old fort behind the hotel and 20 minutes later, a delicious rhubarb crumble appeared for a very happy Mr L! (Grand Hotel Marstrand, Rådhusgatan 2, 442 67 Marstrand http://www.marstrand.se/en/)

Juan Font

We returned by ferry to Gothenburg to the most popular wine bar in town, Juan Font, with a French-Spanish-Basque influence, where there’s a queue an hour before opening. Miguel and his team Charlie, Molly, William and Isabelle have selected a fantastic list and we were thrilled to have our Levin Sauvignon Blanc & Levin Gamay, Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc en magnum, Mr L Sauvignon Blanc and Vin Cerveaux Pouilly Fume on tasting. After the presentation, we duly tucked into one of the best bar menus we have ever tasted. Everything is made behind the bar, from the beef tartare with foie gras, air dried prosciutto, fresh curd cheese, charcuterie, pizza and possibly the world’s best olives to the foie gras macaroons; all most certainly hit the spot. (Teatergatan 36, Gothenburg http://juanfont.se/)


We took the late-night ferry to Skaret on the island of Styrsö and were met by Ylva, the patron of Pensionat Styrsö Skäret. Friday brought a beautiful sunrise and sunshine to the Island of Styrsö. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast of three different homemade breads, local churned butter, fresh orange juice and range of homemade lingonberry, marmalade and other local jams, bacon and scrambled eggs, herrings, smoked meats and charcuterie, not to mention Swedish cheeses and delicious pouring yogurt over homemade muesli. Well-fed, we walked around the island, where we were served coffee and cake at the port of Bratten. Kate Levin loves her red bike and we found one by the road with a pretty basket of flowers, though it looked a little small for the 5’11’’ Miss Levin. (Skäretvägen 53, 430 84 Styrsö http://www.pensionatskaret.se/english/)

Pensionat Styrsö Skaret

Back at Pensionat Styrsö Skaret, Ylva, Ola and chef and the team were preparing the menu for our winemaker dinner and the guests were arriving to take an aperitif of Le Vin de LEVIN Pinot Noir Rosé on the terrace in the sunshine. Each dish was a triumph of pairing with our wines: Butterfried Crayfish smoked shrimp – caviar from Karelen with Levin Sauvignon Blanc; Tartar from Styrsö lamb cured egg yolk – barley – ramson onion with Madame L Gamay; Butterfried Cod asparagus – bleak roe – new potatoes with Vin Cerveaux; Cheese & jam with Mister L Sauvignon Blanc; Sea buckthorne – chocolate – licorice with Levin Noble Sauvignon Blanc.

The evening was also a celebration of May Queen (a rough translation, hence the flower crown) everyone including Mr & Madame L, Lena from Swedish Brands got into the spirit. We were thrilled to have Charlie, head sommelier from Juan Font, ferry over from the mainland to join us at the dinner with his partner. We cannot thank Lena from Swedish Brands, Ylva and Ula enough for being such amazing hosts and the opportunity to showcase Levin Wines and Vin Cerveaux on the Swedish Archipelago.

Sommelier Wine Awards

SWA LVL Bronze sq

Following in the footsteps of big siblings 2012 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc (#Gold Medal 2016) 2012 Mister L Sauvignon Blanc (Gold Medal 2016), we’re pleased as punch that our village wine 2015 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc was awarded Sommelier Wine Awards Bronze Medal! #SWA2017

No wonder it’s such a popular on-trade organic #Sauvignon Blanc. (Our 2015 VinCerveaux Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 Levin Gamay received #Commendations, too!) Get in touch with Emmanuel for more info on trade release Emmanuel@levinwines.com +44 (0) 7584 096 704

Brae Restaurant: a fine balancing act

It was wonderful to return to Brae Restaurant in 2017 and astonishingly Chef Dan Hunter’s menu has become even more impressive during the intervening year. Mr Levin, hard taskmaster, pronounced mid-lunch ‘forget Denmark and Spain, this is the best food in the world.’

Again, we enjoyed the unique Iced oyster, a goat’s milk sorbet flavoured with oyster brine and the dehydrated and powdered oyster on top of its half shell, with an interesting 30-month of lees pinot meuniere grower Champagne, NV Francis Boulard.

bbq-beetrootServed with the starter tastes, the Smoked eel doughnut with Barbecued beetroot seasoned with Brae farm honeycomb and rainbow trout roe was a revelation in balance. The roe, loosened with mirin and white soy, provided the saline bursts to the highly floral and waxy honey and smoky, earth baby beetroot, with the churro, with a suggestion of eel, was perfect to mop up whatever escaped from the fork. This was creatively matched to Rogue Wave ‘Cranky Mrs IPA’ from a bit further down the Great Ocean Road, with its malty, orange peel and citrus blossom notes. @roguewavebrewing

king-george-whitingKing George whiting, zucchini, leek and lemon was where the whiting was the star. It’s pristine white, flaky, springy flesh, matched to the livening zest of the lemon rind. From heritage family producer Best’s in the Grampians, their ‘Foudre Ferment’ was perfect. Wild yeast fermented in a large format, 2500L Burgundian barrel imparting a little openness, spice and honeyed texture, once again it was beautifully balanced with the more traditionally Australian citrus Riesling notes. @bestswines

summer-garden-tartSummer garden tart tartin and Wessex Saddleback saucisson was perhaps our favourite dish. Made from ‘today’s tomatoes’ (‘whatever was just falling off the vine that morning’) and a perfectly flaky puff pastry, it was glossy and savoury-sweet and together with the summer saucisson (hung in Dan’s office) felt like the world’s most sublime picnic. The 2014 Enigma Variations ‘Emptybell #1’ Rosé made by the talented biodynamic winemaker Tamara Irish just for Brae was such a wonderful accompaniment with its herbal, sweet tomato, earthy, mulberry, charcuterie notes that we asked to buy a bottle to take home. @enigmaVwine

crayfishCrayfish and shitake with Brae farm egg yolk, meat broth and seaweeds was both delightfully comforting and clean on the palate. The sumptuous, white chunks of local crayfish were sauced by the orange-est egg yolk and beefy rich stock, with the shitake and samphire offering alternative bursts of earthiness and sea spray in the mouth. 2000 Mukai Shuzō ‘Natsu no Omoide’ with its textural, honeyed, umami, pencil shaving characters was a wonderful match, apparently fermented with a 100-year-old yeast strain and aged for 14 years.

Reportedly, from tiny brewer in the Kyōto prefecture made by Kuniko Mukai who was one of the first women Master Brewers in Japan at the young age of 22 and carried on the traditions of her 260-year-old family brewery. @blackmarketsake

short-ribShort rib of beef cooked overnight, barbecued carrot, fermented and fried onions was such a decadent, gelatinous, tender beefy morsel, with a perfectly cooked smoky carrot and a thatch of fine onion curls excellently matched to the beautifully-honed, subtle and savoury 2015 Izway ‘Maurice’ Grenache from the Barossa Valley. @IzwayWine (Usually, Madame L is attuned to grenache’s raspberry confection, but was so enamoured with this wine that she claimed it had finally changed her mind after 62 years!)

red-fruitsRed fruits, lemon and lovage, wild cabbage and buckwheat was a delightful dessert course with farm raspberries and mulberries, buckwheat wafers and a white chocolate and berry ‘earth’ that slowly melted over sweet and crisp mouthfuls. It was matched with the 2015 Braida Brachetto d’Acqui, which was very much like a red, slightly drier, tannin-spicy Moscato – delicious!

We finished once again with the gorgeous Parsnip and apple, a creative homage to the cannoli and some perfectly ripe Ananas melon – a perfect Autumn lunch.

LEVIN joins Squaremeal Tasting 2016

Squaremeal Tasting 2016Can’t wait to join the party at the fabulous Squaremeal Tasting 2016 on Wednesday 16 November at the Honourable Artillery Company.

A temple to all things gastronomy, guests will wet their whistle with SWA Gold medal LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc 2012, LEVIN Rosé 2015 & MADAME L Gamay 2010, taste our Verjus by Nathan Outlaw & Cod’s Roe Canapes, as well as dishes from some of the hottest London restaurants.

The team at Squaremeal call it ‘A celebration of the best of the capital’s restaurant scene’ and no wonder.

Squaremeal Tasting FoodGuests will get to try signature dishes from London’s top restaurants, featuring Darbaar, Galvin Restaurants, Grain Store, Cinnamon Club, Aqua Shard, Jose Pizarro, Black Roe, Chotto Matte, Fucina, Sake no Hana, Zoilo, Outlaw’s at the Capital and M Restaurants.

Plus, over 200 Champagnes and wine from around the world, from some of Europe’s oldest to new world classics and, of course, a selection of premium spirits.

See you there!

Book http://www.squaremeal.co.uk/tasting2016

#EatJersey16 with Chef Tom Brown and LEVIN Wines

Tom Brown, Head Chef of Outlaw's at The Capital

Tom Brown, Head Chef of Outlaw’s at The Capital

So excited to be joining our very own Outlaw’s at The Capital Head Chef, Tom Brown at #EatJersey16 Food Festival @atlanticjersey next month.

Our Michelin-starred Tom will be sharing the pans with Michelin-starred Executive Head Chef Mark Jordan at Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel on Saturday 5 November 2016, for lunch and dinner. (Click to book.)

Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel

Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel

It was a pleasure to match LEVIN Wines to the incredible menu, showing our current vintages as well as reaching back into our museum stocks for some special food and wine experiences on the eight course menu.

LEVIN Wines vintage 2016

LEVIN Wines vintage 2016

Mark Jordan’s Squid, ‘Risotto of Jersey squid and cauliflower, scallop carpaccio’ will be matched to our Museum 2006 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc.

The 2006 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc is an extraordinary wine, with excellent balance, bright acidity and freshness, evolved with wonderful weight and texture that will be a brilliant match with the squid, scallop and cauliflower.

Tom Brown’s Scallops, ‘Raw Jersey scallops, bacon, onion, anchovy, chilli’ will be matched to our just released 2015 LEVIN Gamay Rosé

The 2015 LEVIN Gamay Rosé is an elegant but complex wine, the slightly savoury Gamay characters match with the bacon anchovy and chilli characters, but the wines crisp acidity and minerality enhances and underpins the scallop.

From the outstanding menu to the views from the Ocean Restaurant, it’s bound to be a feast for the senses in the Channel Isles in November!

Eat Jersey 2016 #Eat Jersey16 @atlanticjersey

Saturday 5 November

Outlaw’s at The Capital in London when Head Chef Tom Brown will join The Atlantic Hotel Ocean Restaurant Executive Head Chef Mark Jordan to create a collaborative menu of beautifully crafted seafood dishes for both lunch and dinner.

Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel

Lunch 12:30 – 14:30 (£40 for four plates or £60 for six plates menu)

Dinner 18:30 – 22:00 (£60 for six plates or £80 for eight plates menu)

To purchase tickets please contact James Peters on 01534 744101 or email james.peters@theatlantichotel.com



2012s LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc & MISTER L judged top tier in premier trade driven awards


Media release 
EMBARGOED until 11:00am GMT, Tuesday 26 April 2016
London, United Kingdom

LEVIN Wines is very pleased to announce their double gold medal success at the 2016 Sommelier Wine Awards, Britain’s only on-trade wine competition, judged blind by a panel of sommeliers and wine buyers from the UK’s top hotels, bars and restaurants.

‘Our wines have always been made to match with complex menus, originally for our own restaurants and hotels and today many other beautifully curated wine lists around the world, so it’s really very gratifying to have them recognised by London’s top sommeliers,’ enthused LEVIN Wines director, Lynne Levin.

The premium cuvée MISTER L Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (which is certified organic, handpicked from a single vineyard in Choussy, barrel fermented and matured on lees for nine months in new French oak) and the flagship LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (also certified organic, handpicked blend of 18 vineyards across Bourré, Choussy and Oisly, before low temperature fermentation and maturation in stainless steel) were both included in the Gold List – the SWA competition’s ‘ultimate wine list’, chosen from the 2,500 wines submitted.

Both wines were provided with tasting notes from the judges:

LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc 2012 GOLD MEDALLEVIN Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Competition category: France Loire Sauvignon Menetou/Pouilly

Judges’ Tasting notes:

Truly fresh varietal characteristics took this well priced wine to the Gold podium. ‘Elegant and mineral, with gooseberry and herbaceous style and decent acidity,’ began Dario Barbato of Individual Restaurants, while Sara Bacchiori of Chez Bruce highlighted its ‘asparagus, gooseberry and greengage, quince with some pear notes on a ripe, fruity palate with some length’.

MISTER L Sauvignon Blanc 2012 GOLD MEDALMISTER L Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Competition category: France Loire Sauvignon Menetou/Pouilly

Judges’ Tasting notes:

Barrel fermentation gives depth and creaminess to this Gold Lister. Gustavo Medina of Tate Britain found this ‘complex with great concentration’, finding ‘gooseberry blossom notes on the nose, lime and lemon freshness with a touch of tropical fruit and a rich midpalate’. ‘Rich and complex, with some honeyed development,’ added team leader Natasha Hughes MW.

For more information, bottle shots or samples, please contact:

Lynne Levin lynne.levin@levinwines.com  or 

Kimberley Pearce kim@levinwines.com  +61 413 120 385.

For trade orders or enquiries in Melbourne, please contact:

Victoria Sharples victoria@thewinestation.com.au +61 411 202 750

LEVIN double at Bacchus Alumni Awards

It was an exciting Levin double win at the Bacchus Alumni Awards 2016 on April 11, with David and Lynne Levin both honoured for their important contribution to Oxford School of Hospitality Management.

David Levin MBE (pictured here with Head of School, Donald Sloan second from right)

David Levin MBE (pictured here with Head of School, Donald Sloan second from right) has a long history with Oxford Brookes, including 15 years ago, funding the refurbishment of the teaching restaurant Brookes (that recently even won Runner-up in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2015). David has been appointed Visiting Professor and conferred an Honorary Doctorate; he’s been pivotal to Oxford Brookes becoming the world’s premier hospitality school and yet the presentation of his Special Award, the final of the night, was just so unexpected and very warmly received.

Lynne Levin (pictured here with James Franklin, Restaurant Manager, Brookes Restaurant

Lynne Levin was equally surprised and thrilled by winning the Bacchus Mentor Award (pictured here with James Franklin, Restaurant Manager, Brookes Restaurant), especially amongst such eminent nominees. Lynne has been part of the Bacchus Mentoring Programme for five years, which is designed for final year undergrads and post-graduates to engage with experienced figures from international hospitality. Lynne remarked that it’s ‘one of the most rewarding aspects of my career,’ equally, her mentees are exposed to some career-defining experiences, evidenced by the programme of this year’s post-grad that included:

–Travelling to Loire Valley to meet LEVIN’s winemakers, taste the vintage and discuss fermentation protocols for the 12 styles LEVIN produces; being shown blending, bottling procedures, logistics and organic production (and how it differs from conventional winemaking).

Tasting the vintage and discuss fermentation protocols for the 12 styles LEVIN produces

–Touring several of LEVIN’s vineyards and understanding planning and timelines for new vineyard planting, including soil analysis and its importance in organic preparation, clonal selection, pruning and infills; preparation for vintage and seeing ‘green fertilizers’ used to prepare the soil. Developing a strong understanding of the difference between organic and non-organic vineyards.

–At The Capital Hotel, having her CV reviewed by the Director of HR, touring the function rooms, restaurant and brasserie and meeting key hospitality staff; spending time with the Sales & Marketing team and The Capital’s Oxford Brookes student intern.

At The Capital Hotel, , touring the function rooms, restaurant and brasserie and meeting key hospitality staff

–Accompanying Lynne to wine staff education at Michelin-starred Trinity Restaurant to see the trade sales channel and taking part in vertical and horizontal tasting of Levin Sauvignon Blanc, done as a blind tasting. Detailing vintage variations of weather conditions, picking dates, volume of grapes per hectare, length of the growing season and diurnal temperature variation; ensuring the information is appropriate to all levels of knowledge. And, offering not just technical information, but imparting philosophy, passion and history to arm sommeliers with a compelling story to tell their diners.

–Lynne also spent time discussing specific career goals and planning, team work and interpersonal dynamics; as well as opportunities in the food and wine industry, corporate and small business settings and emerging opportunities in the catering segment, all to help achieve her key goals.

Lynne Levin's past mentee, Wil Fuller

With Lynne gaining just as much satisfaction as her Oxford Brookes mentees, it’s little wonder her involvement in the Bacchus Mentoring Programme has been such a roaring success!


The Wine Station now represents LEVIN Wines in Melbourne

Victoria Sharples, The Wine Station

Sales Agent Update

Media release 
Monday, 11 April 2016
Melbourne, Australia (for immediate release)

David and Lynne Levin are thrilled to announce that Victoria Sharples from The Wine Station will now represent and act as the agent for LEVIN Wines in the Melbourne marketplace.

The Levins undertook an exhaustive search and are pleased to have found a well-suited agent with deep experience and an excellent reputation in the trade. Likewise, Victoria is so pleased to add LEVIN Wines to her portfolio of hand crafted, family owned and small batch European and Australian producers.

Victoria Sharples is the founder The Wine Station, a Melbourne-based wine agency that represents and consults to both wineries and government. Her Masters of Wine program in progress, Victoria has been in the industry for 15 years and has worked as a buyer, importer, sommelier and wine judge in both the UK and Australia. Her skill and knowledge of International wines has led her to become a Senior Judge at International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London and was appointed as IWC’s Australian Ambassador in 2010.

Victoria will be available to assist LEVIN Wines current customers with orders and information and can be contacted via e-mail at victoria@thewinestation.com.au or phone on +61 411 202 750. LEVIN Wines delivery arrangements via Jayline Distribution will remain the same, invoicing will continue to be raised by LEVIN Wines and payments received to LEVIN Wines.

Once again, David and Lynne Levin would like to welcome Victoria to LEVIN Wines and look forward to her contribution to LEVIN brand in Melbourne.

For trade orders in Melbourne, please contact:

 Victoria Sharples victoria@thewinestation.com.au +61 411 202 750

Twitter @WineStation Instagram @thewinestation Facebook @VictoriasWineStation


Telephone (03) 9388 8895

Address Po Box 1002, Fitzroy North 3068

Email drink@thewinestation.com.au

For more information, please contact info@levinwines.com
Lynne Levin lynne.levin@levinwines.com  or 
Kimberley Pearce kim@levinwines.com  +61 413 120 385. 


Adventures in Armadale

Our dinner at the newly opened Amaru (@amaru_melbourne Amaru Melbourne 1121 High St, Armadale, Melbourne) hosted by the inimitable Phil Hude (ably assisted by Aine Conran) from Armadale Cellars was such a wonderful treat.Amaru Restaurant

Clinton McIver’s background as sous chef at Vue de Monde has been well documented, as was his dazzling 14-month stint at Clayton Bowls Club, where he honed his menu and carefully plotted his next steps (undoubtedly the best food to ever grace that particular eastern enclave!).

Clinton and his partner Ali have set up close to their home in High Street, Armadale, in a strip formerly more renowned for its pret-a-porter than haute cuisine, but with this addition it’s sure to become a real food destination. Ali and Clinton have been able to create an impressive, high concept menu, but with a warm sense of welcome and dinner party ambience.

Our starters, served as canapes (chivalrously camouflaging any latecomers) each had a nod to Indigenous produce. Puffed Kangaroo tendon served in wildflower honey, caramelized roo fat & burnt fig leather, was like a very antipodean prawn cracker, the saltiness combined with a thin wafer of richness and sweetness making for a lovely mouthful. Lightly cured bass grouper with fresh finger lime, native pepper leaf & fried pigs ear was a gorgeous ceviche of deep water wreck fish on a crispy, porky skin.

Blue swimmer crab with day old bread, vinegar, brown butter & pickled nasturtiums was a delectable crouton topped with shredded crab, its richness lifted by the pickled flower. The 80:20 blend of 2011 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay, served ‘en magnum’ with fresh notes of lemon, green apple and a rounded palate complemented each taste beautifully.

After Phil’s typically idiosyncratic introduction of the wines (he always manages to include a few references to Hawthorn FC), Lynne Levin explained the some-35-year history of the domaine, the organic and biodynamic production, the vineyards and flavour profiles of each of the wines to the avid vinophile audience.1heirloom

Next, we enjoyed the deceptively simple Heirloom tomatoes stewed with marron heads & muntrie berries. The rich umami sauce created by the marron mustard was contrasted with the just-collapsing, multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes, with bright bursts from the berries, which we greedily mopped up with the Organic spelt sourdough & Tasmanian grass fed cultured butter. Such a wonderful match to our savoury, dry, tomato leaf, cool cherry and redcurrant 2011 LEVIN Rosé. Bass Groper

Next, we returned to the groper in greater proportions, Bass Groper, sauce of roasted wallaby bone & tender sea grapes, which was an ever-so-gently cooked fillet with lashes of salty seaweed and a rich reduction of wallaby. The 2011 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc with its subtle herbaceousness, pink grapefruit, and minerality was a bright and jaunty foil to the sea grapes, though 2011 MISTER L Sauvignon Blanc with its richer, smoky layers of complexity and gentle spine of acidity was a transcendent match.Dry aged Burrawon Gaian duck

The Dry aged Burrawon Gaian duck, preserved blueberry, barbecued radicchio was where our gamays really shone. This dish’s lift of blueberry played joyfully with the more generous cherry and dark berry notes in the 2011 Le Vin de LEVIN Gamay, while the smoky duck and radicchio was a brilliant compliment to 2011 Madame L Gamay’s savoury, spicy, earthy notes overlain with violets, lavender and cherry.
Cultured buffalo milk ice cream

Finally, we were treated to the impressive and slightly savoury dessert Cultured buffalo milk ice cream, cold pressed olive oil, Tasmanian pepper berry and seasonal aromatics. Almost playing the cheese course, the curd-like buffalo ice cream had a lively twang, with the clean, savoury flavours of the olive oil and pepper berry seeming to match equally well with the 2011 LEVIN Gamay and 2011 LEVIN Noble Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc, creating a good deal of lively discussion in the process!

We were so proud that LEVIN Wines was part of Amaru’s very first winemaker’s dinner and we know that Ali and Clinton will enjoy some very deserved success at their world class restaurant. Mister & Madame L look forward to dining at Amaru again when they return to Melbourne!


@amaru_melbourne Amaru Melbourne

1121 High St, Armadale Victoria 3143, Australia

+61 (0)3 9822 0144


Return to Brae

Returning once again to Brae (@BraeRestaurant braerestaurant 4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria) in the first week of the antipodean autumn surpassed all our expectations. While only a month had passed since our last long lunch, we were treated to some amazing new experiences and some fast favourites from last time.

For the autumn menu, we decided to give our complete attention to Dan Hunter’s menu, so rather than matched wines with each taste, we decided to choose some special bottles. We were very kindly treated to NV André Beaufort ‘Reserve Polisy’ Brut, Aube, Champagne with our first small dishes, an interesting organic grower champagne, with a smoky, mineral character.

Brae autumn starters

Chilled cucumber and cold garden leaves was a bright combination of clean flavours to thoroughly whet our appetite. Zucchini flowers and lemon aspen tart was an incredibly fresh and inspired use of zucchini flowers, as very good as it looks.

Crimson pearl potato and smoked eel sandwich, which we’d tasted in a slightly different way last time, was a delicious little wafery-fishy mouthful.

Brae larger dishes

Tomatoes and davidson plum in chilled crustacean broth was verging on a spiritual experience! The slightly dehydrated tomatoes intensified and focused the flavours, which burst into the mouth. They were complemented by a dusting of dehydrated plum as well as whole Davidson plums, floating in a chilled crustacean broth, a really transcendent combination.

Prawn, nasturtium, finger lime was a twist on our last visit, was a sublime prawn pillowed within nasturtium leaf, topped with a burst of finger lime cells. Ice oyster, once again, what a truly incredible dish. The sheep’s milk ice cream flavoured with the oyster’s brine and freeze dried oyster and herbs is just a wonderful experience.

Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding featured fresh chicory that lent a balancing bitterness to the intensely rich sea urchin. With a sprinkling of dehydrated citrus peel to pull it all together.

With the larger dishes, we really enjoyed the 2008 Benoit Ente ‘Champ Gain’ 1er Cru, Puligny Montrachet, France, which was a beautifully balanced wine that had been decanted to open up its gorgeous white flower, citrus and mineral characters.

Brae dishes

Calamari and fermented kohlrabi, last of the peas and beef fat was another incredible dish. The finely sliced calamari was just slightly poached and the kohlrabi, cut to resemble the calamari, had been fermented adding an umami dimension. The teeny-tiny baby peas were amazingly fresh and the richness of the smoky beef marrow and fat pulled the dish together perfectly. (The peas and beef fat were cooked in the smoker in a pan with holes in the bottom, the drippings falling onto coals below to create a flavoured smoke for the peas!)

Southern rock lobster cooked with carrot, white onion and sea butter was a revelation and standout on the day. The delicately cooked lobster legs were seasoned with ground green olive, chrysanthemum leaves, a gorgeous sea butter that we surmised was a reduction of the lobster shells and carrot, with the quite crisp, fresh white onion adding some grip to the dish.

Eggplant and salt grass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants was a homecoming to one of our favourite dishes from the summer menu, a tantalizing salty-sweet onion slice of lamb with gorgeous leaves from the kitchen garden.

Hapuku and sunflower, minutina in brown butter was a beautiful deep water wreckfish that fell apart in large, moist flakes, sitting on a smear of pureed sunflower seeds. We thought the sunflower seeds tasted a little like tahini and matched so beautifully with the crisp minutina greens tossed in burnt butter.

Wood grilled Tajima beef aged 45 days, Otway shiitake, fermented cabbage was a beautifully textured, smoky medallion of beef. We thought the real star of the dish was the wood smoke, which was contrasted by the sharpness of the thinly sliced cabbage and complemented by the smokiness of the mushroom.

Brae puddings

With the desserts, we drank 2011 By Farr Viognier ‘Dessert Wine’, Geelong, Victoria. Gary Farr’s wines, made close by, are understandably darlings on Brae’s wine list and this standout pudding wine worked wonderfully well with the sweet dishes.

Plums simmered with pear, honey and cultured milk revisted the Davidson plums we loved with the tomatoes, but this time poached in sweet pear, with silky ice cream, honeycomb (made from honey from their apiary) and glacéd citrus peel on top.

Parsnip and apple was once again a delight, with the crispy parsnip shell, honeyed crème and powdered apple creating an inventive twist on the cannoli.

Brae Rooms

Feeling perfectly satiated after an opulent lunch, it was wonderful to stay at one of Brae’s recently-opened six luxury suites, so beautifully appointed by Six Degrees’ architecture and Studio Round’s interiors.

The room had an urbane 1960s vibe that John & Sunday Reed would have been most at home in. The walls were decorated with beautiful contemporary art, there was a proper record player and vinyl collection, the most lavish mini bar, marble benches and fully stocked wine fridge, a delightful charcuterie and cheese repast for the evening and big sky sunset views.

What a triumphant return and we’re so looking forward to hosting the very talented Dan Hunter in London in the near future!

Brae +61 3 5236 2226

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4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria, Australia