Leeuwin Estate, Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia 2010

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Leeuwin Estate, Art Series Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia 2010

Fine floral and light citrus fruit on the nose with a hint of green pea. This is quite exciting with beautifully fresh acidity backing the intensity of fruit on the palate. Exceptional persistence on the finish.
Price: £55-£64 Fortnum & Mason, Four Walls, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Hawkshead Wines, Hedonism, Jeroboams, L’Assemblage, Oz Wines, Secret Cellar, Selfridges, SH Jones, Slurp, Uncorked, WineDirect, Woodwinters
Drink: 2015-2020
Alc: 14%

Perth businessman Den is Horgan was encouraged by California’s Robert Mondavi to plant vineyards in Margaret River in the 1970s. The vines went into the ground from 1975 and 1979 was the first vintage. Within a few years Leeuwin had become the grandest of Margaret River wineries making a range of majestic wines, principally Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Art Series, launched in 1980, is the top tier, made from the oldest vines that produce small berries and very concentrated juice. After some skin contact the wine is fermented in mostly new barrels, with some lees stirring. Leeuwin used to encourage malolactic fermentation but no longer does so. The result, demonstrated over three decades, is a magnificent, limpid, complex Chardonnay, with broad shoulders but rarely showing excessive oak or heft. (This is a wine I once confidently placed in Burgundy during a blind tasting in Australia.)

Leeuwin Estate

Leeuwin Estate was founded by Denis and Tricia Horgan in 1969  and is located in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. In 1973, Denis met an American who was also interested in buying land in the area, ‘to produce high quality varietal wine’. The name meant nothing to Horgan at the time, but the American man was Robert Mondavi, the late ‘Grand Old Man’ of American wine. Their partnership lasted until 1983.

Horgan’s instinct about his land proved correct: the first vines he planted included the Chardonnay patch known as Block 20 – his ‘golden acre’ (1.8 hectares) – which still produces the grapes that form the backbone of the Art Series Chardonnay. This wine is regularly named as one of Australia’s best Chardonnays.