Levet fans - please help me understand

In terms of Cote Rotie, most of my own cellar and what I have shared among friends is mostly Jamet & Jasmin. Deep experience with other Cote Rotie producers is less broad.

I know Levet is well regarded by several contributors here. Would anyone mind expanding on the various cuvees?

I tried to track info down on the web & I searched here but there’s very little info about the entire line-up. Even Levet’s own website (French only) has just 3 of the cuvees listed.
Would appreciate learning about both stylistic & actual physical (location, vine age, vinification, etc) differences are between the base C.R., Amethyste, Brune et Blonde, La Chavroche, La Peroline, Maestra & Les Journaries?

Here are a couple of resources to start:

https://madrose.com/producers/france/cotes-du-rhone-north/bernard-levet/

https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/rhone-wines-cote-rotie-hermitage-chateauneuf-du-pape/rhone-wine-cote-rotie-producer-profiles/domaine-bernard-levet-cote-rotie-rhone-wine/

https://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=155337

Chavaroche=Peroline (American vs. European naming) The Chavaroche a name of a lie dit next to the Cote Brune lieu-dit, though my understanding there’s quite a bit of Mollard in this as well.
Journaries=Maestria (American vs. European naming) Comes mostly (though not entirely) from Landonne, is my understanding
Cote Rotie (base)=Amethyste
I’m not aware of the Cote Brune bottling

The Chavaroche is generally more backwards with more structure, the Journaries is typically a bit more aromatic and open, though I would suggest in both cases both require quite a bit of cellaring. When opened young, they often don’t even resemble northern Rhone until day 2. Some older examples of Chavaroche I’ve had (98 and 04, recently) have been wonderful. There is a fair amount of variability to the wines - they’re pretty old school. Some people find that they can occasionally “smell like old socks” or “roadkill” (you know who you are!), though I suppose I either don’t find that or enjoy it!

I don’t have much experience with the base Cote Rotie, as given such little price disparity with the individual cuvees, I simply don’t buy it.

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The three cuvees can be best distinguished by how much dead rodent is ground up in each: mouse, rat, capybara.

Whoa [wow.gif] [wow.gif] [wow.gif]

Just poking a little fun at the guys who like the feral nature of the wines :wink:

Hard to add anything more than this most excellent post.

If you like the Levet style, as Greg notes, skip the Amethyste. It’s really nice, but the bump up to the better two wines is minor, so go all in. While the La Chav is generally considered the flagship, these are two different wines, both of high merit. I think Les Journaries is actually better in some years, 2013 for example. Both wines need a lot of time. If you are not patient, I would not buy these wines.

When you say a lot of time, does that mean the typical 15 years or more? I have some Levet back to 2005, and I’ve sampled a few bottles but they still seem like they need time. I have a 2007 Chavaroche standing now because there have been a few good CT reviews.

I thought a 2007 Chavaroche was a bit ornery when I opened it recently, but typically that age should be fine. The 04 was great a few months back after a couple of hours in a decanter and was the second best wine in a an 04 northern Rhône horizontal.

I was more concerned by all the capybara you’ve seen running around Ampuis…

It depends on the vintage… the best-drinking comparatively young vintage from them right now is 2006. 2005s are more introverted even though they’re a year older.

Thanks very much Greg. That makes it clearer for me. That they have different names for different markets seems unnecessary.

The 2007 La Chav is showing extremely well right now, and IMHO, is better than 2006. I have had it twice in the last two months. An excellent wine!

I have a mag of the 2004 that I want to pull. Any thoughts on optimal window, William?

2007 is drinking great. I’ve brought it to my wine group 2 times in the last year or so, WOTN each time.

A bunch of us had the 04 Levet at Racines right before the pandemic (with a horizontal of most of the other northern Rhone 04s other than Chave and Jamet) and I think the consensus (including Pascaline and Arnaud) was that only the Reynard was better. So I wouldn’t hesitate too much.

My different take is it was drinking young enough out of 750 that I would wait out of magnum. (Pascaline liked Allemand Chaillots the best but she didn’t taste them later - only on first pour.)

I liked the Reynard even as I wrongly guessed that it was the Chaillots as I thought it was drinking so well and with the mindset that a Reynard would not be as accessible.

Fedex it to me and I would be delighted to give you my opinion champagne.gif

Should be in the zone though.

The old wines can be good, too, albeit a bit more feral than recent stuff. Some 1989s showed well last year.

I think everyone at the table liked Reynard best, either right away or ultimately after an hour or so. Fabulous wine.

i opened 2 bottles of 2009 journaries last year and both were quite terrible. i chalked it up to poor storage from the shop i purchased them from and drinking them way too early so im definitely interested to see other perspectives but i just recall tart astringent wet dog. like the worst of herve souhaut bottles ive ever had.