WINE ANTHEA GERRIE
DAVID Levin is a visionary in the hospitality world. He proved hotel restaurants could become dining destinations when he opened London’s Capital Hotel 40 years ago. Ten years later he shocked his French neighbours by growing grapes organically in his Loire vineyard.
He reluctantly built his own winery “because the Co-op was taking our wonderful grapes and mixing them with inferior ones”. It was designed in Australia and shipped to France pieceby-piece, together with an Australian-trained winemaker so he could use wine-making methods more common to Australia and other New World countries.
Now David and his Australian wife, Lynne, make New World-style wine using traditional organic agriculture in the Touraine area of the Loire Valley.
There are three price points, but the signature Levin label represents the best value, at around £12 per bottle. With hints of pink grapefruit, the 2008 (Harrods or Virgin Wines) makes a perfect partner for asparagus, goat’s cheese or poached fish with a buttery sauce.
It is worth visiting the Levin Hotel, next to the Capital in Knightsbridge, to taste the 2006 they still serve in their wine bar. Unlike most sauvignons blancs, which traditionally do not keep well, this is rich
The top of the range Mister L 2009 is another full-flavoured, luxurious sauvignon blanc — available by single bottle from Virgin at £23.99. Only made from exceptional vintages, this has some oak, and is long, rich and creamy. The Levins also make red and rose from gamay, some of which have won awards.