Bret Urness has been making these wines in Paso Robles for just over ten years, now in his smart winery with tasting room in Paso’s vibrant Tin City, with tiny production and an increasingly ardent following. His focus is Rhône varietals (and, for a final vintage, a wonderful Chardonnay) grown in Santa Barbara’s Ballard Canyon and Willow Creek in Paso Robles, working with growers such as Stolpman, Kimsey, Larner, and Fulldraw. He is self-taught, explaining: "In 2011, I started what is now Levo wine. After receiving a heaping pile of rejection letters from all the California universities offering enology and viticulture, I decided it time to wave goodbye to academia and create my own path in the wine world. Soon I ended up in Portugal’s Douro Valley, with a pair of boots & journal - I realized pretty quickly I didn’t need much else except good fruit, barrels & some siphoning tubes to make soulful wines. Since then I’ve stuck to these primitive winemaking ideas. I’ve kept my head down, pushing away the tantalizing voice of compromise and overused ideas of tradition.” The wines are beautifully made in a style that is rich and hedonistic, ripe and Californian through and through, yet also artfully balanced. Bret also creates the labels, which change every vintage as do the names of the wines. We love his own notes on his wines, so most of the wine notes below are his.
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