Levantine Hill is an inspirational Australian first
Friday, July 10, 2020 in News
Levantine Hill is an inspirational Australian first
Ned Goodwin MW writes for Langton’s about Levantine Hill. The Yarra Valley project is beyond aspirational in producing ultra-luxury Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Syrah. Explore our Levantine Hill portfolio.
Levantine Hill is a luxury wine estate in the middle of the Yarra Valley. Since its establishment in 2010, its wines and operations have provided a serious jolt to the fine Australian wine landscape. To put it mildly, Levantine Hill is turning heads. To call the project ‘ambitious’ is an understatement. To call it ‘aspirational’, insufficient. More accurately, Levantine Hill is an inspirational Australian first.
‘...reminiscent of the great estates of Bordeaux, or Napa.’
A first in that Levantine Hill is a far greater sum than its impressive individual parts, already beyond anything attempted in this country. Two elevated vineyards in the heart of the Yarra, an assiduous winemaker with local nous and superlative wines of detail and uncanny regional fealty, articulated by the sort of holistically tailored wine-centric operations that are more reminiscent of the great estates of Bordeaux, or Napa. An Australian first, too, in terms of international repute and the charge of fine wine buyers that the estate and its wines are attracting.
‘...the most ambitious wine project in the history of Australia. Period’
James Halliday quips that Levantine Hill is ‘...the most ambitious project in the Yarra Valley since the establishment of Domaine Chandon a quarter of a century ago.’ Halliday is being demure. Levantine Hill is the most ambitious wine project in the history of Australia. Period.
Think about it.
Levantine Hill wines are crafted by Paul Bridgeman. Paul is a Yarra local who worked at the esteemed address of Jean-Louis Chave, renowned for its prodigious Hermitage and with that, the finest expression of Syrah in the world. Bridgeman also chaperoned the iconic wines of Yarra Yering following the passing of founder, Dr. Bailey Cardodus.
Thanks to vast international and domestic experience, Bridgeman has come to prize textural attributes in his wines, more than most. These include what he refers to as the ‘bridging phenolics’, the signature of his stunning whites. Traditionally, of course, Australian producers eschewed phenolics in the quest for pure, unadulterated fruit. This approach serves simple mass-market wines well, perhaps, but fails to convey the textural intrigue and authority of premium wine, borne of place and a gentle, albeit, confident hand.
Bridgeman marches to a different beat.
Crowned by the Drinks Business magazine as a ‘master winemaker’ in their Master Winemaker 100 magazine 2020, Bridgeman is breaking exciting new ground. Paradoxically, this newfound territory is one in which the site shines brightest of all, sublimating the winemaker’s craft without disregarding its importance. There is no ‘me-too-ism’ about Bridgeman, but simply a cool, strident calm.
In essence, Levantine Hill’s creed is one of judicious minimalism, allowing each parcel to express itself from vintage to vintage, with the goal of producing wines of purity, finesse and longevity. The vision is one of ‘exceptional wines, handcrafted without compromise’. The collective modus operandi is to elevate the estate to the zenith of Australian fine wine.
Given the vineyards, personnel and facilities, Levantine Hill is well on the way.
The vineyards at Levantine a Hill are elevated, established, steep and marginal, a prerequisite for fine wine. One vineyard was planted in the 1990s, while the family blocks are newer and cooler. Founded on clay-loams, they were deemed by many to be too vertiginous and rocky to be viable. Yet tenacity proved the naysayers wrong and today, they provide Levantine Hill’s ultra-premium fruit, complementing a tapestry of undulating hillsides, gullies and amphitheatres that comprise a litany of mesoclimates, stretching from 75 to 225 metres of elevation. Each nook and cranny imparts a different voice to the ensuing wines.
‘The hatted restaurant comes resplendent with a truffière...’
It is only fitting that the winery segues to a cellar door and abutting restaurant. Designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects (of MONA fame), the complex is exquisite; aesthetically poised between functional minimalism and breathtaking beauty in order to showcase the wines, the effortless fashion in which they complement a myriad of dishes and the overriding philosophy of uncompromising quality that defines Levantine Hill.
The hatted restaurant comes resplendent with a truffière, sourcing en situ from the property’s cooler spots, along with the possibility of complementing the experience with a trip by helicopter.
Such attention to detail makes it palpably clear that the reach for something resembling perfection is inherent to the Levantine Hill culture and the estate’s stellar swag of wines.
Langton’s buying team has secured a cache of Levantine Hill wines, all highly rated and of limited quantities. To discover the new face of ultra-luxurious Australian wine, please contact your broker or shop online.