Dear Friends ~
I’ve got new labels, intoxicating elixirs, and a little mumbo jumbo to salt bae on your psyche, specifically crafted to slip the credit card out of your purse/wallet and purchase Levo’s newest freshly squeezed juice (AKA WINE). Yep, I’ll give it to you straight. No baloney, fine print or filters in these parts. These sappy 2019 SPOT Vineyard Designates drip with succulence and are guaranteed to fulfill even your deepest hedonistic cravings. I’m slightly hesitant to admit we bottled minuscule portions of each wine offered today. If our mathematical equations hold true, we will sell out immediately upon release. So I urge you! Do not dilly dally! Succumb to my peer pressure and pony up. All the cool kids will inevitably purchase this juice. If you miss this opportunity, you’ll feel left out and all alone. You will be banished to a table filled with losers in the corner of the cafeteria, and your life will crumble from that point forward. Don’t let this be your demise! If you’d like to skip my obnoxious hullabaloo and get straight to THE SKINNY, scroll to the bottom of this email. There you will find our release schedule, wine geek notes, and annoying things like pricing, shipping details, and pick-up dates. If you’d like to come along for the ride, leave your sensitivities and preconceived notions at the door, and let’s dive in.
I’ve never been much of a gambler in the traditional sense. After all, I don’t have much of a poker face and have only been to Las Vegas once when I was 17. While visiting Sin City, the craziest activity I participated in would’ve been loading some tokens into a vending machine and pushing V7 for some cheese crackers. Not your classic “Fear and Loathing” experience, I’d say. Perhaps my propensity towards rolling dice, shuffling cards, and pulling levers is because I’m already a winemaker constantly engaged in a particularly thrilling game against a challenging opponent named “Mother Nature.” Her delinquent behavior is terrifyingly unpredictable and thrilling enough for me. Sprinkle in being a small business owner, a little California bureaucracy, and you have yourself a very thrilling and all-encompassing activity that would stimulate even the most staunch adrenaline junky.
Oftentimes Mother Nature (MN) is naively categorized as benevolent and her ideal held as romantic. This position is understandable, and I can definitely understand why. Perhaps some folks never watched Nature specials growing up, or maybe a few too many reruns of Bambi. Regardless, I’ll never forget when my Dad brought home a shark special from the Discovery channel. Basically the original version of shark week. It was on VHS, and I would always request to watch it. As a youngster, sharks simultaneously amazed/scared the bejesus out of me, and I was fascinated with their power and ferocity. The idea that a seal could peacefully swim in calm, picturesque teal water, then milliseconds later resemble a beach ball flailing through the air, was both mind-bending and terrifying. At some point, I came to the conclusion that sharks don’t necessarily have any method of a “quick and painless end” to offer the poor seal. Unfortunately, the beach ball’s demise is one bite at a time. That is mother nature, and I’m not sure how she got such a warmhearted reputation.
Perhaps these utopian opinions of nature could be formed at a beautiful resort. Imagine being surrounded by wildlife on a patio with a fine glass of wine, the sun tucking itself behind the hills, the birds are singing, the deer are grazing in the meadow, and the thought comes to mind, “Wow, isn’t nature benevolent and perfect?” Yes, MN may, in fact, feel kind as AC pumps inside a man-made insulated abode, 1000 thread count comforters, room service, a shower and hot tub, and a suite flush with electrical outlets charging an iPhone so one can share an Instagram post about the recent epiphany of how great nature is. Now pause! Eliminate all modern-day comforts. Subtract your water-resistant Patagonia jacket, your Blundstone boots, and zip-off pants from REI. Now replace these items with a loincloth and a poorly sharpened wooden stick. Walk to the front desk (with said loincloth and wooden stick in tow), check out of the resort, and uber to a remote area. Make yourself a bed of leaves and lay under the stars while you slap mosquitos all night and pull ticks out of your hair. Fend off a mountain lion with your sharpened toothpick. Rub your hands raw while trying to start a fire…You get the picture.
Nature doesn’t want the best for you. The fact that nature is not nice becomes evident when farming. Mother nature doesn’t care about my precious Grenache vines, nor do the insects, disease, gophers, deer, birds, or the raging wildfires. Even if you try to control these elements, you cannot. You realize MN is in charge. Of course, MN’s evil tendencies are also the secret sauce that gives each vintage and wine unique individuality and idiosyncrasies. As it turns out, the cruelty of withholding water from struggling vines creates superior and interesting wines. So, my friends, it is essential that suffering and cruelty occur to develop character, authenticity, and individuality. These redeeming characteristics simply would not exist in a perfect utopia or within the romantic ideal of nature. It is only when man struggles against nature that we reach homeostasis, and nature becomes enjoyable and beautiful. This notion parallels farming and winemaking. One must grapple against the elements, and when done successfully, you reap the fruits of your labor. And fortunately, a well-fought battle’s rewards are explicitly delicious.
Of course, this fight against MN can be downright overwhelming and resemble a nail-biting poker match. When growing grapes and making wine, you inevitably have all your chips in the pot. You pray the wells keep pumping and the vines continue digging deep to find a little water refreshment and alleviate the pounding California heat. You cross your fingers the yeast Oompa Loompas decide to show up and ferment all the wines to completion. To hold or fold? To fold and prematurely harvest grapes is a squandered opportunity, one will never know if quality was left on the vine. To hold, means one might find the utmost potential of the vintage. Winemakers only get a single harvest every year and only one chance in a lifetime to extract the essence of that individual vintage. Indeed there is a lot of gambling in this wine-growing business. I’d go even further and claim it takes a fair bit of faith to boot. But my friends, when all your hair is yanked out, and your whits are at the bitter end, all you can do is KEEP ROLLING. Our newest label depicts this theme “keep rolling.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from there.
First off, a 2019 Petit Verdot from the Law Estate Vineyard in the Adelaida district. This vineyard is super high in elevation, with huge diurnal temperature swings and soils completely littered with limestone and calcareous. When we picked this fruit, I remember we literally sorted one leaf in the entire 3 tons of fruit we harvested. It was the cleanest pick and most beautiful fruit I’ve ever received. After fermentation, we gently racked this juice into 66% New French Oak and let it rest for 22 months. This wine is pure, fresh, elegant, and explodes with floral elements, boysenberry, acai accented by incense and oak tones. It is deep and dense in the glass, where violet meets black. I cannot believe how opaque this wine is, yet it glides over the palate and disappears quickly—yummy yummy.
In 2019 we were also very lucky to work with the famed G2 vineyard in Willow Creek AVA. It is named aptly, as it sprawls among steep calcareous hillsides fit for nobody but a mountain goat or a very abused grapevine. Our old block of Syrah was pruned to perfection. We picked it early to preserve freshness and vibrancy and received enough grapes to fill one measly fermenter. Fortunately, our neighbor and good friend Jacob Toft had one extra ton that was picked a week or so after ours. This fruit was riper and more dense and flamboyant. This lot also got its own small fermenter. The wine that made it to bottle is a blend of the early pick and the later pick, which gives this wine lots of layers and complexity. It is a savory Syrah that opens up with aromas of oak forest and dirt, pure black fruit, and floral elements emerge with air. On the palate, it has an amazing fine-grained chalky texture, as if you were licking a calcareous rock that the grapes were grown upon. It is a magical wine that speaks to the place it was grown. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Finally, after years of begging (seriously eight years), I finally received an offer for two blocks of Syrah from Micheal Larner in Ballard Canyon. What makes this vineyard so unique is that it sits on limestone and marina sand. Most of Ballard Canyon is clay/limestone, which makes a very dense wine with great freshness. Sand brings more elegance to the finished wine. This Larner Vineyard Syrah has so much electricity and vibrance. It is intoxicating on the nose with super crunchy bright red fruit erupting out of the glass, raspberries, black cherries, and garrigue come to mind. The palate is bright, and the sweet oak tannins bring tons of tension to the wine’s naturally bright acidity. This wine was aged in 66% new French Oak, and they were some of our finest barrels we purchased in 2019. This wine is pure class.
Bret & the crew at levo
**PLEASE NOTE We made very small quantities of these wines and may not have enough for each member. Below is what will be included in the shipment. Click here to log in and set up your order. For personal assistance, please feel free to call the office at 805-400-5994, or contact us here. We are available to assist Wednesday-Sunday 10-4 pm.
6 Bottle Members
- (2) 2019 Larner Vineyard Syrah
- (2) 2019 Law Estate Petite Verdot
- (2) 2019 G2 Vineyard Syrah
- (4) 2019 Larner Vineyard Syrah
- (4) 2019 Law Estate Petite Verdot
- (4) 2019 G2 Vineyard Syrah
- Retail Pricing $54 / Bottle
- 6 Bottle Member Pricing $45.90 / Bottle
- Case Member Pricing $43.20 / Bottle
- August 11th – Allocations
- Login to your levo account and add wishlist items/update payment information and shipping info if it has changed
- 6 Bottle Members can add-on to their standard shipments during this period
- Case members can customize shipments
- August 25th – Allocations closed. No alterations after this date.
- August 26th – Cards Charged
- September 1st – Pickups available
- October 4th: West Coast Orders Shipped (WEATHER PERMITTING) VIA GLS: (CA, ID, WA, AZ, OR, NV, UT, NM)
- October 7th – Midwest / East Coast Orders Shipped (WEATHER PERMITTING)