When first starting our new wine venture back in 2007 we had to come up with a name. And anyone who knows Jo Irvine understands her deep affection for the majestic breed of dog - the greyhound .
The Greek historian Arrian encapsulated the appreciation of the true nature of greyhounds in a written tribute to his own greyhound, ‘Horme’ from as early as 430 BC:
“... while I am at home he remains by my side and accompanies me going abroad, ..”
While greyhounds were considered to be invaluable hunting partners during ancient times, it was clear that their gentle nature, affection and loyalty saw them also become treasured companions. That has been my experience for over 20 years with my first dog Chilli. Greyhounds are sensitive dogs, renowned for their gentle affectionate nature. The world’s oldest breed of dog may be built for speed and agility – but within their centuries-old bloodlines is a predisposition for gentleness, affection and loyalty.
For centuries, greyhounds have been associated with nobility and royalty and featured in paintings, literature and art. For this reason, I have used these ancient images on my mosaic labels to showcase what this noble breed meant to the ancient cultures of Rome, Greece and Egypt.
Levrier by Jo Irvine’s principle is about the noble nature of Barossa, our region and it’s heritage. The Barossa is primarily known for its red wine variety Shiraz, and because it is so well known other noble varieties are under threat. My notion in creating Levrier was to ensure that in some small way I would give the growers that I work with a reason to continue to produce these splendid varieties.
There are hundreds of grape varieties grown around the world, some of which are known better for winemaking than others. Humans have been making and drinking wine for thousands of years and during this time have pinpointed the varieties that consistently produce the best wines. These grape varieties are referred to as the” Six Noble Grapes”, or “International Varieties”. The six historical Noble Grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.
As new hybrid grape varieties are developed and wine production has increased around the world, the list of Noble Grapes has expanded. Although some newer lists of noble grapes may include up to 18 varieties, these six represent the backbone of wine production and include a wide range of flavours and aromas for a comprehensive wine-drinking experience. If you are new to wine drinking, the six Noble Grapes are a great place to start your journey.
Levrier produces a number of wines using two of the historical Noble Grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I personally select single vineyard fruit from dedicated Barossa and Eden Valley growers, producing a Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Barossa Merlot. I also create a red blend of these two varietals and combine them with another forgotten varietal of the Barossa, Cabernet Franc.