A little while back I wrote about Levantine Hill being an extraordinary place. Well, let me tell you, the wines are extraordinary as well. I’ve been lucky enough to try them at cellar door (twice), at a tasting, as matching wines with a degustation menu and I bought some as well. Needless to say, they exude confidence and class.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the affable winemaker, Paul Bridgeman. The guitar playing front man for the “Yeastie Boys” (What? You haven’t heard of them?) has been with Levantine Hill since 2013 and has achieved remarkable things in that short time. I had the pleasure of speaking with him recently and it is easy to tell he has a passion for the Yarra Valley wines he is crafting. As much as he says he loves working with Pinot Noir, I couldn’t help noticing that he clearly treats all the varieties with the same attention to detail.
Now here’s a thing. There are three tiers in the Levantine Hill range. I only say this because I don’t know how else to describe the levels. ‘Levels’. Even that seem so wrong.
I suppose you could call this range the ‘entry’ level but this word seems such a misnomer. By this I mean it has nothing to do with the cost and everything to do with the quality. There’s a dry, savoury and food friendly Rosé ($35), a silky smooth varietal Pinot Noir ($50) offering approachability and cellarability, and the rich and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon dominant ‘Rubeus’ ($50).
However, if I had to pick a favourite of the group, the 2014 Coldstream Guard ‘Albus’ was the one. A textural, attractive array of white varieties with Sauvignon Blanc making up most of the blend (44%) while Chardonnay (27%), Viognier (23%) and Semillon (6%) make up the rest. A wine that puts you between a rock and hard place whether to share it with friends or keep it all to yourself.
For a purely combined enjoyable and class factor, this is the range for you. Okay, so it sits in the ‘pretty penny’ price range but wait until you try them. You’ll understand why.
I have been very lucky enough to try most of these wines. There’s a mouth-watering Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon ($38), a bold and utilitous Rosé ($38) and a delicate and moreish Chardonnay ($80). Speaking of delicate, add elegance and we’re talking about the Pinot Noir ($80) which will bring you pleasure for quite a while if you can keep your hands off it.
I have to mention the award winning Syrah. I tried this at a tasting and it stuck in my memory and continues to do so. I’d like to say it was easily my favourite but that would be unfair on the others.
This is classed as the ultra-premium range and, before I go any further, every wine in this range tells you, as you are tasting it, just how meticulous Paul Bridgeman is with his winemaking. Not that he isn’t with the other wines it’s just that, well, there is that something extra special here.
Having tasted the delightfully elegantly structured Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay ($125) and the powerful yet beautifully built and approachable Samantha’s Paddock Cabernet dominate blend ($175), I could tell they had received the best treatment from the vineyard to the bottle. I know you are probably thinking, “seriously?” but I’m being dead set honest. I’ve no doubt the Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir and Melissa’s Paddock Syrah would be pretty damn delicious as well.
This is a very brief summary of the wines but if there is one piece of advice I can give you, head to the beautiful Yarra Valley, call in to the Levantine Hill cellar door and let the team behind the bar run you through the range. You’ll notice just how proud and passionate they are about the wines. And if you don’t walk away with one, two or more bottles of wine, I’ll eat my hat.