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For the first time, Mourvèdre has taken over as lead variety at nearly 60% of the blend and shifted the focus of the 2018 Level 22 from dark and smokey to gamey and savory, with an emphasis on texture and flavorful layering. Right out of the glass you are hit with a confluence of savory steak, that has been seared to a char but bloody rare on the inside, jammy strawberry, and candied cranberry. A leathery expression of wild berries and an orange peel effervescence mixes into the fold, along with barrel notes of vanilla and spicy coriander that borders on the sweet and spicy range of remoulade.
There is an ostensive and syrupy thickness to the entry that is smooth and full of sticky blueberry and charred cedar but opens up to a broad mid-palate of shaggy tannin smooth in texture. The core of the wine is gamey, like venison peppered in allspice and anise, that provides meaningful depth to the wine, while dried black cherry and cola provides a sweet reprieve. The wine finishes short and bright with a refreshing dollop of acidity that proves a sharp counterpoint to the thickness and range of its other features.