WINE ANTHEA GER­RIE

The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/food -

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.

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