I have weak knees and a very soft spot for Leeuwin wines having been seduced by their Art Series Chardonnay consistently over the years. It’s al all-time favourite of mine and is one of our country’s chardonnay treasures.
Fair to say I was frothing at the opportunity to taste the 2011 release as well as new releases of Art Series Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet. With some back vintages thrown in for good measure, it was an impressive line-up.
Simone Horgan spoke of her family’s history (read about it here) as well as that of the estate before handing over to winemaker Tim Lovett to speak of the wines. Below are my hastily scrawled notes, I was too busy enjoying the wines to focus too much on the details.
A brilliant display of Margaret River wines at their finest.
2013 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling
A variety not widely planted in Margaret River, Leeuwin pioneered the planting of riesling and have the oldest vines in the region. This is ripped. Slatey, crisp and super sharp with persisting lemon throughout. With mineral salts and lemon pith it’s one for seafood.
2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Sauvignon Blanc
A celebration of the finest sauvignon blanc from the Estate, this spent time in oak with partial barrel ferment to showcase the variety’s texture – a character not always associated with sauvignon blanc. It shines here. Layered with guava, apricot and peach it ripples across the broad palate. It’s soft, structured and smashable.
2012 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay
This leaps out of the glass with butterscotch and burnt lime. A powerful presence with more toasty, nutty oak characters throughout finishing with burnt caramel. Poached pears feature in a wine that packs a punch.
2011 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay
Tim says the moderate to warm vintage was among the best of the last decade. The wine has an intense aroma with ripe nectarine and peach. On the palate there’s hints of that lush breadth that’ll see it go long into the next decade. The 100% new French oak doesn’t stand out or is at least balanced by the pristine and powerful fruit. Great energy to this wine and plenty to look forward to. Now, it’s a firecracker – stand back in awe.
2010 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
This is just starting to warm up. It’s spectacular – rolling waves of fruit into cashew nuttiness. There’s a real vibrancy to this wine still but it is starting to settle down. Drinking beautifully and will continue to do so for many years.
2008 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
Palate envy. Texture. Wow, a most cushioned, soft and round texture. It’s still bright but just envelops your mouth in a massive chardy snuggle.
2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
From one of the coolest years on record this wine is still peaking. In a good place right now with plenty of acid still sparkling and structure to burn.
2011 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz
Smells ripe with blood plum, jaffas and a whiff of mocha. It’s beautifully crafted with spice, pepper and floral lift floating around the medium bodied texture. I’ll come back to this in a couple of years.
2010 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
A dark well of blackcurrant fruit that should be dense and chewy on the palate but is far more refined and chiseled than the nose suggests. The structure is super tight with fine tannin persisting long throughout the finish. Savoury characters balanced with the carefully restrained but powerful fruit ensures this one for the ages.
2009 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Ooh yeah. Blackcurrant and over-ripe cherry tomatoes combine on the nose. Trés elegant, the plate features intricately woven layers of fruit and bay leaf with oak and acidity all playing important but minor roles.
2007 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
Oh sweet Jesus, I’m done. Stewed plums, blackcurrant and very dark cherry and chocolate. I can’t get enough of the smell of aged cabernet. From a ripe vintage it’s bold like its label. Fitting.
Region: Margaret River