LEVIN wins 2 GOLD MEDALS at SOMMELIER WINE AWARDS

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

SOMMELIER WINE 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

www.thewinestation.com.au 

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. 

Ends—

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

@amaru_melbourne Amaru Melbourne

1121 High St, Armadale Victoria 3143, Australia

+61 (0)3 9822 0144

info@amarumelbourne.com.au

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

Twitter @BraeRestaurant Instagram braerestaurant

4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria, Australia

One fine day at Brae

This past rainy Sunday, Madame L and Mister L travelled with @wine_brain_kp out to Brae (@BraeRestaurant braerestaurant 4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria) – Dan Hunter’s captivating restaurant, vegetable gardens and orchards, 140 kilometres southwest of Melbourne – and enjoyed some of the most confident and technically exciting food we have had.

Dan Hunter once cooked at Mugaritz (6th on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurants) before six years leading the kitchen of Dunkeld’s Royal Mail Hotel, which he took to Three Hats and won The Age Good Food Guide’s 2012 Chef of The Year. There are certainly references here to the sensorial creativity, smoky Iberian grill and the obsession with seasonality.

The name of the restaurant is explained as ‘Brae \’brā\ n. — A hillside; a gentle slope. A modern restaurant set on 30 productive acres.’ Formerly Sunnybrae cookery school, which established the remarkable gardens and Alan Scott brick oven, Restaurant Manager Simon Freeman explained that the farmhouse was stripped back and reimagined by long-time friends and hospitality specialists Six Degrees Architects. From the palette, the artworks and murals, the quirky application of fencing stakes, to the play list, the restaurant is a true reflection of the mind of the chef.

Brae Starters

The Summer menu began with seven tastes matched to a local sparkling wine NV Holly’s Garden überbrut (sommelier Meg explained was chardonnay, pinot noir and with a small amount of pinot blanc), which we thought was a little wild and unfocussed and Edge Brewing Project ‘Cool Hops’ a brilliantly fresh and lively microbrew.

In the first tranche, Cucumber and lemon myrtle was a very delicately pickled cucumber, with the delicious native flower freeze-dried, powdered and sprinkled on top. Brook trout and nut butter crisp was a flash fried trout skin crisp, with smoky trout and nasturtium, which was delightful. Raw pea and lemon aspen tart was a riot of fresh baby peas on an ever-so-slightly-too-short pastry. Sapphire potato and smoked eel sandwich was a perfect mouthful of crispy wafer thin potato and creamy-smoky fishiness.

Next, we had the Prawn, nasturtium, finger lime, which was a very playful, textural juxtaposition of crispy fried prawn head, which could be taken in one crunch revealing umami juiciness and a leafy parcel of very delicately cooked prawn tail, with the citrusy burst of lime cells on top.

Finally, we had the Beef tendon and mountain pepper, which was like a particularly hearty prawn cracker, a bit oily with fragrant ground pepper. The Iced Oyster was incredible. The oyster brine was combined with sheep’s milk curd into an ice cream and served in the shell, while the oyster itself had been freeze dried along with apple cider vinegar and herbs, powdered and sprinkled on top of the ice cream. It was an outstanding crescendo in complexity and flavour to whet our appetites for the main degustation.

Brae Calamari Crayfish Lamb

We began with the Calamari and black lip abalone, broccoli and blue mackerel, which had a decidedly Japanese accent, with the thinly sliced seafood barely-poached in the delicious liquor and topped with nasturtium leaves. This was matched to 2013 Sutton Grange ‘Estate’ Fiano from neighbouring region Bendigo, a waxy, honeysuckle, barrel fermented, textural beauty.

Crayfish and burnt potatoes, sunflower, milk and mustard was a parcel encased by the milk ‘skin’, with crayfish, slightly underdone but smoky-burnt potato cubes and mustard, an impressive technical display served with 2014 Chikuma Nishiki ‘Kizan’ Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu, Nagano Japan. We recognised the winter Olympics city, a definite mountain producer but were astounded by the balance, texture and dynamic character of this sake.

Eggplant and salt grass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants was a piece of salty lamb that seemed to have been poached in a sweet onion liquor, with shavings of garlic, soft, collapsing eggplant and some gorgeous leaves from a plant we’d never seen before, Ice Plant, with tarragon. The cloudy-natural-wine look of the 2013 Testalonga Bianco Vermentino, Liguria, Italy worried us a little, but the robustness imparted by the extended skin contact, with its wild hay bale, oyster shell, honeysuckle, yeasty characters made this (usually searingly-austere variety) just an inspired match.

Brae Hapuka Duck

Hapuku, cured pork and bok choy, fish roe whipped with onion was a gorgeous fillet of Hapuku (found in deep offshore reefs around the continental slope across the southern portion of Australia) that fell into buttery flakes, with pork cubes, spears of bok choy and a jus of onion and roe. Matched to a cellar release of arguably Australia’s best Riesling 2006 Crawford River ‘Museum Release’ Riesling, Henty, Victoria was still youthful with lime peel and melon but with some creamy lemon curd notes and length for days.

Aged Pekin duck wood roasted on the bone, quandong, dried liver was rich, smoky and delicious. (Simon told us later that the ducks are stuffed with straw and roasted in the Alan Scott brick oven and then smoked on the grill, with the straw that had been in the duck.) The sharply acidic native stewed quandong was a great foil and the powdery liver added a lovely complexity. Matched with a cellar release of 2009 by Far ‘Tout Prés’ Pinot Noir, Geelong, Victoria, a single vineyard from iconic winemaker Gary Farr (influenced by his many vintages at Domain Dujac) was a deep, complex, spicy, mineral, seamless wine, undoubtedly among Australia’s best pinots.

Brae Apricot Parsnip

On to the desserts, Apricot simmered with honey and vanilla, sheep’s milk and dried custard was an incredibly concentrated reduction of apricot, with a sheep’s milk ice cream providing a lovely acidic twang, with crumbled sheets of dried custard and honeycomb made from honey collected on the property. The 2012 Domaine Barmes-Buecher ‘Rosenberg’ Pinot Gris, Alsace, France had the concentrated, blooming-floral notes and sweet viscosity to match this complex pudding.

Parsnip and apple, which was a parsnip, cut in half with most of the flesh removed and the skin ‘shell’ deep fried, brushed with honey and served with a crème, dried apple powder and a small piece of roasted apple – possibly the dish of the day in an incredible line up. Matched with the 2012 Domaine des Baumard ‘Cuvée de Paon’, Coteaux du Layon, France, a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc with honey, marmalade, lanolin and marzipan characters that were a beautiful complement.

After lunch, we couldn’t help but enjoy a digestif (Auchentoshan 12 YO and Amaro Nonino, both charming) and hear more about the project from Simon. In a little over 18 months, Brae has swept all before it in the competitive Australian food scene. Three Hats in the Good Food Guide, Three Stars in Gourmet Traveller, Chef of the Year in both and cracked 87 on the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant list.

It seemed very much that this great leap forward was driven by the uncompromised, authentic vision that Dan Hunter, Simon Freeman, their partners and vastly impressive team have been able to execute. The balance of each dish within the context of the entire menu was amazing! Very well worth the gastronomic pilgrimage (the local Birregurra Farm Store is a must-stop on the way home), which will be even more delightful when their luxury suites open from March 2016!

Brae +61 3 5236 2226

Twitter @BraeRestaurant Instagram braerestaurant

4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Victoria, Australia

Merci Millésime BIO

Millesime BIO tasting table

We’re proud to have just finished our first Millésime BIO 2016 @Sudvinbio – the global event for organic wine (25 to 27 January) – along with 900 organic exhibitors from every wine producing country and region around the world.

We were ably represented by our Michelin-starred Outlaw’s at The Capital Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier, Sharon McArthur, who shares our passion for organic wine.

We were thrilled by the wonderful response from our tasters amongst the 5000-or-so who attended Millésime BIO in Montpellier.

"Gilles Lefrancq" (official photographer for Millésime Bio)

“Gilles Lefrancq” (official photographer for Millésime Bio)

Our degustation focused on a preview of the 2015 vintage, featuring individual tank and barrel samples from our Bourré vineyards – including Le Clos Rozier, Le Clos Bezard, Les Cabanes and Les Buissons and Plateau (a collection of 10 sites on the rise that overlooks our winery to the north and the Cher River to the south) – our Oisly Vineyard and Choussy Vineyard, across our village, flagship and premium cuvée wines.

We also presented our new release flagship 2012 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc, which has already won a GOLD Medal in Concours Mondial du Sauvignon.

map

Millésime BIO 2016, en degustation

2015 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc (tank sample blend of vineyards Le Clos Rozier, Le Clos Bezard, Oisly & Plateau)

2015 MISTER L Sauvignon Blanc (barrel sample of Choussy Vineyard)

2015 LEVIN Gamay (tank sample of Gamay from vineyards at Les Cabanes & Les Buissons)

2015 Le Vin de LEVIN Pinot Noir Rosé (tank sample)

2015 LEVIN Gamay Rosé (tank sample)

2015 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc (tank sample)

2012 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc (bottled and winner of Gold Medal in Concours Mondial du Sauvignon)

Millésime Bio 2016 (25-27th January 2016)

Millesime Bio banner

We’re so pleased that LEVIN Wines is exhibiting this year at Millésime Bio 2016 (25-27th January 2016, Hall B3 Stand 675).

Millésime Bio is the world’s only dedicated organic expo and has been steadily gaining momentum since it was established in 1993, by a group of organic winemakers from the organic wine industry association, Sudvinbio.

Distinct from the flash of the major wine expos, Millésime Bio is very much just about the wine: every stand is identical for each producer, organic certification is strictly checked and the limited 800 stands are grouped randomly rather than by appellation. All welcoming a very well-versed 5000-or-so trade visitors.

LEVIN Wines’ stand will be presented by The Capital sommelier, Sharon McArthur and if you’re attending we’d love you to come along to taste the wines!

Sharon McArthur

Millésime Bio 2016 :

25-26-27 janvier 2016,Parc des Expositions, Montpellier, France

Hall et stand :

Hall B3, Stand 675

Personnes présentes sur le stand :

McARTHUR, Sharon

http://www.millesime-bio.com/en

LEVIN Wines releases new vintage organic 2012 Sauvignon Blanc just in time for the Australian summer

Media release

Friday, 3 December 2015, Melbourne, Australia (for immediate release)

Organic Loire Valley winery LEVIN Wines is very pleased to release their latest vintage, the gold medal-winning 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, just in time for the Australian summer. David and Lynne Levin were thrilled to be awarded GOLD at Concours Mondial Sauvignon (World Sauvignon Competition) 2013 – and now to present the wines to their Australian clients.

The Levins both have a rich background in hospitality – David Levin also owns The Capital Hotel and The Levin Hotel in London and Lynne Levin has been a Good Food Guide-hatted restaurateur and leading international figure in the food and wine industry for more than 40 years – and so they take a unique approach to their production of their Sauvignon Blanc:

‘Unlike many Sauvignon Blanc producers around the world, we insist on releasing our wines with optimum bottle development, not as dictated by cash flow. Picking and vinifying each of our 19 vineyards separately allows us to create a blend that is the finest expression of that vintage, creating layers of textured aromatics and flavours. The vineyards were first established to produce mature wines that matched with the food in our Michelin-starred restaurant. So, continuing to present intense, perfumed, supple wines with balance and minerality that complements a range of dishes is of the highest importance to us,’ explains Lynne Levin.

The wine

LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Loire, VDP du Val de Loire, France (RRP $39 AUD per bottle)

The zippy and charming LEVIN Sauvignon provides a pure expression of healthy Loire fruit underpinned by characteristic minerality.

Appearance: Clear and day bright with light green reflections.

Nose: Clean and fresh with a subtle herbaceous nose with refreshing citrus notes, leading to aromas of exotic fruits and wild mint which typifies the LEVIN style.

Palate: Complex and refreshing with intense flavours that echo the nose; wild mint, a subtle herbaceousness, citrus and pink grapefruit with fruit characters and just a hint of some exotic fruit. Underpinned by characteristic minerality and a delicious mouth-watering acidity.

Certification Agriculture Biologique (Organic)

GOLD MEDAL – Concours Mondial Sauvignon 2013 (World Sauvignon Competition)

The terroir

LEVIN has 19 distinct vineyards on two different types of terroirs. The sites are planted in the villages of Bourré, Choussy and Oisly, some 15 to 20 kilometres apart, over about 20 hectares.

The grapes from Bourré-Vallée du Cher soil are planted on the region’s famed Tuffeau* limestone, mixed with a harmonious blend of loose and flinty clay, mica and sand, which greatly aid in the building of body, texture and minerality in the wine. The soils of the Choussy and Oisly vineyards are of sandy topsoil sitting on top of a thick layer of excellent smectite clay, which provide the wine with the fruit flavours, aromas and bouquet we aim to achieve.

The vineyards are farmed organically with viticultural practices which although labour intensive, are designed to respect all environmental aspects in both the vineyards and winery. In 2005, LEVIN began to use biodynamic pulverizations and green fertiliser to stimulate the microbiological life into the soils and improve the vines’ natural immunity system and have since been Certified Organic by the exacting French certification body Ecocert.

The Loire Valley’s semi-continental climate – chilly nights and warm days – allow for slow and complex ripening periods, producing a unique aromatic profile.

The winemaking

LEVIN Wines is also certified organic in the winery and we take care to preserve our pristine fruit. Each vineyard undergoes daily maturation testing, with 19 individual vineyards of varying ages and terroirs, it allows us to hand pick our grapes at perfect maturation as each vineyard progressively ripens. Hand harvested grapes are swiftly brought to the winery where they are destemmed and chilled before entering the press. This preserves the aromatic profile and reduces oxidisation.

The fermentation tanks are stainless steel and temperature controlled.  The wines are fermented at a lower temperature in sealed tanks, which helps prevent oxidative flavours from developing. These are key factors in preserving the aromatics that delivery exceptional wine. Cold stabilisation and a long maturation period allows the development of the complex flavours leading to increased flavour.

For LEVIN Wines, the process is one of controlled simplicity. The goal is to permit the grapes to express their full potential with as little intervention as possible.

David and Lynne Levin are committed to producing a world class Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley, in its original home in The Loire. LEVIN integrates modern winemaking, with the ancient terroir of the Loire Valley — a wonderful marriage of ‘new world’ and ‘old world’ — much like the Levins themselves.

*Tuffeau soil is marine sedimentary limestone formed during the Upper Cretaceous Period, around 100 million years ago. Over millennia, mineralised fossil marine creatures were deposited, when the Loire was an ancient inland sea. Mixed with sand, mica and flinty clays from later eras, the Tuffeau creates the some of the best vineyards soils in the world, particularly for Sauvignon Blanc. It’s chalky-white, luminescent quality was also prized for the construction of Loire Valley’s renaissance châteaux.

LEVIN Wines Australian retail stockists include: Annangrove Cellars, Armadale Cellars, Blackhearts & Sparrows, Canterbury Cellars, Chaucer Cellars, Harvest Wine & Liquor, Leo’s Fine Foods and Robin Hood Hotel.

 

For more information, please contact: Lynne Levin lynne.levin@levinwines.com or for media support in Australia, Kimberley Pearce kp@winebrain.com.au 0413 120 385. To download LEVIN Wines images, please visit http://bit.ly/1NmLSYG 

 

Ends—

Levin Wines is a boutique, family-owned, organic winery that has been producing wine in the Loire Valley for 30 years.

David Levin, owner of The Capital Hotel in London, originally started growing grapes in the Loire Valley in 1986 to produce his own private label wines. David’s yearly travels to Australia introduced him to new world practices, not then used in Europe and so, he had a winery designed in South Australia and built on the estate. Today, David Levin’s wife, Lynne, manages the domaine and Levin Wines’ export all over the world.

Levin Wines’ vineyards cover some 20 hectares across three sites in Bourré, Choussy and Oisly, in the eastern Touraine-Amboise section of the Loire Valley. The Bourré vineyards, are on a Tuffeau terroir comprising flinty clay over thick limestone mix. The Tuffeau rocks are composed of millions of fossilised marine animals containing traces of mica and sand.

Levin Wines’ village, flagship and premium cuvée wines are available in 14 countries and have collected awards from Sommelier Wine Awards, Decanter Wine Awards and World Sauvignon Competition. The Levins are committed to producing a world class, organic Sauvignon Blanc – and Gamay – in the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc’s original home.

Levin Wines is Certified Organic in both the winery and vineyards, utilises biodynamic practices and a biodiversity program that includes hand picking and green harvesting, bottling under screw cap and a commitment to land conservation. Certified Organic No 64932 / 12P ECOCERT.

Proprietors: David & Lynne Levin

Established in 1986
Production Capacity: 10,000 cases

Vintage Report 2015

With the LEVIN vendadge now finished, our grapes having been carefully picked and fermenting, it is time to reflect on a pleasing Vintage 2015.

At the beginning of the growing season, inclement weather at flowering resulted in lower fruit set, followed by very low rainfall for three months. This meant fewer bunches of smaller, more intense and aromatic grapes.

The drier and slightly warmer conditions that followed brought vintage forward by two weeks. The earlier vintage, combined with the quality and size of grapes and healthy vigour and fertility, all resulted in a faster fermentation, which had the effect of preserving the aromatic profiles and delivering lovely balanced acidity and increased minerality.

We very much look forward to introducing the 2015 wines, when they have reached maturity, of course!

Vintage 2015

Cubitt House Guests at La Demeure de Bezard

Alongside the harvest, Vintage is also a wonderful time for us to welcome our supporters and friends to the Loire Valley for a hands-on vintage experience. We hosted our visitors at the amazing gîte, La Demeure de Bezard in Monthou-sur-Cher. Bezard is on the site of 6th Century monastery, nestled in a wooded valley, next to the middle ages-built fortress and renaissance château, Gué-Péan.

Vintage visit with the Cubitt House team

At the end of September, we welcomed a fabulous team from Cubitt House Group for a three day visit. Nadine, Sara, Valerie, Mo, Sam, Aniello and Hannah began the visit with a tour of our Oisly (pronounced ‘Wally’) organic vineyards and Clos Rosier (our cherished, home block vineyard) – where the much loved Cubitt Sauvignon Blanc is grown, which LEVIN Wines produces especially for The Orange, The Grazing Goat, The Alfred Tennyson and The Thomas Cubitt, in London.

At the winery, we talked about how we produce our premium cuvée, Mr L Sauvignon Blanc, as well as LEVIN Wines history and organic and biodynamic philosophy and practices. We then all sat down to a traditional vigneron’s lunch with the LEVIN team, Bernard, Denis and Adrien.

This included a vertical tasting of LEVIN Rosé from 2009, 2010 and 2011, with local charcuterie specialties Pork Rillettes, rustic Terrine of Rabbit and Duck Foie Gras. Aniello wowed us with his service skills: carrying 18 glasses at a time and six plates in one hand! This was followed by a delectable Apple Flan, from our local patisserie, with Crème Fraiche and LEVIN Noble Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc.

Vintage experience

The wine experience was continued after lunch, with a tasting of the free run grape juice for our premium cuvée Gamay. Then we presented a simple Sauvignon Blanc parcel blending exercise, with samples drawn from several of our 19 vineyards sites. The clever Cubitt team declared their favourite to be from our beloved Choussy vineyard, where our finest grapes for premium cuvée Mr L Sauvignon Blanc are grown.

We took the Cubitts to visit to the gorgeous château Gué-Péan where they had the chance to meet the local chevaux, followed by dinner of roasted local Organic Black Leg Chicken, Pommes Dauphenois, French salad and baked quince flan for dessert.

We presented a vertical tasting of LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, as well as a horizontal tasting of the 2011 vintage: 2011 LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc (unoaked), 2011 Mr L Sauvignon Blanc (oaked) 2011 LEVIN Noble Sauvignon Blanc (botrytis).

We also took time to enjoy the amazing autumn sunsets and explore the wonderful tranquillity of the secluded forest. We were sad to see Nadine, Sara, Valerie, Mo, Sam, Aniello and Hannah go, but bid them farewell as they set out to visit to the most beautiful château in the Loire, spanning the River Cher – Château de Chenonceau.  (Sam, we’re eager to see you in your movie, coming soon to cinemas!)

Our Australian Visitors to the winery

It was so lovely to welcome our Australian visitors, Brendan Vivien and Miranda from Melbourne and their friends Barbara and Nick from England to Domaine Levin, even though an electrical outage triggered our security alarm system, giving a rather noisy welcome.  Our Levin Sauvignon Blanc, Madame L Gamay and Mr L Sauvignon Blanc were greatly enjoyed, with Brendan and Vivien already seeking them out in Melbourne and Barbara and Nick, in London.

Lunch at Château Roches

We joined our friends for a vintage celebration and were treated to a most fabulous lunch at Château Roches. We enjoyed local specialities including a beautifully prepared Loire River fish, with crumbed Mussels and freshly-picked Girolle mushrooms, with spinach.

Our Scottish guests from L’Art du Vin

Our next vintage visitors were our wonderful Scottish friends at L’Art du Vin. Our very successful Scot agent, Richard Bouglet brought with him Craig, Ed, Andrew, Fred, Alex and Lewis, a group of the most passionate restauranteurs, chefs and sommeliers from Scotland and Northern England.

By then, the weather had become more autumnal, although it did not prevent our tour of our Oisly vineyard, and presenting a comparison of organic and non-organic vineyards. We were able to show the group the great texture and structure of the soil, and ‘sweet’ earthy smell of the terroir on our organic vineyard, in stark contrast to the hard, compacted and lifeless non-organic vineyard. (Remarkably, the leaves on the organic vines remain for weeks after they have turned and dropped from non-organic vines!) It was a great opportunity for Richard to show first hand his passion and knowledge of organic viticulture.

Vintage friends from abroad

Of course, we made a visit to château Gué-Péan for a photo opportunity, before getting down to some serious tasting of the newly pressed grape juice. We again enjoyed a stunning response to the longevity of our Sauvignon Blancs, from the 2006 through to 2012 in bottle.

We also tasted the 2014 Le Vin de LEVIN Sauvignon Blanc en magnum, 2011 Mister L Sauvignon Blanc , 2010 and 2011 LEVIN Gamay and Madame L Gamay – and a surprise for all – 2009, 2010 and 2011 LEVIN Rose, served with gazpacho was a magnificent match.

We believe the 2015 vintage will be one of our best for Gamay (watch this space!). Our Choussy vineyard has delivered the Sauvignon of a generation, which we are so delighted will produce a superb 2015 Mr L Sauvignon Blanc – a fitting tribute to Mr L himself, in his 80th year.