Located in the prestigious Côte-Rôtie appellation, Domaien Levet is one of the area’s classic references, producing characterful wines with a powerful profile. The running of the domain has been passed down four generations, and it is now Agnès Levet’s turn to hold the reins. Here’s a look at a domain that is discreet but noted for its fine work.
The humble beginnings of Domaine Levet date back to 1929, when the first parcel was planted in the Côte Blonde by Christophe Chambeyron. Working as a market gardener at the same time, his son Marius followed on from his father, planting more vines on sloping land in Landonne, Chavaroche, Mollard, and Baleyat. The responsibility then fell onto the shoulders of his daughter, Nicole Levet, and her husband Bernard to keep up the work. Thanks to them, the surface area managed by the domain gradually doubled, and they invested in a new winery and tasting space at the centre of Ampuis. Finally, the domain’s running came to Agnès Levet in 2004, representing the fourth generation to tend to the vines and produce excellent wine.
The vineyard is planted with a varietal called Petite Serine, an older version of the Syrah grape that is replanted using massal selection; this is done with the goal of preserving the domain’s viticultural heritage. Their land is divided into around twenty parcels. Around forty-five years old, the vines are tended to by hand throughout the year, as though the vineyard were a garden. The domain’s commitment to responsible agriculture means that insecticides are banned. The plants are pruned quite short following the Guyot method, and this means that yields total around 40 hectolitres per hectare. Sheep manure is applied to help the vines grow. Finally, when it comes to harvest, there is a team of fifteen people who pick the grapes by hand.
In the winery, maceration is long and the wine matures for two years, both with the view to increasing the wine’s ageing potential. The proportion of new wood is kept intentionally low so that the wine isn’t marked by an oaky character. This also allows the terroir to express itself…and that’s exactly what it does, with great elegance!
The wines from this domain are sought for their subtle balance of finesse and power, their spicy profile, and their long ageing potential. They call for several years of ageing in the cellar in order to reveal all their potential. We appreciate these wines for their quality, and despite their recognition, they really aren’t too expensive!