Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series Margaret River 2017
Leeuwin Estate releases wines under the Art Series, Prelude Vineyards and Siblings labels. The “Art Series” represents Leeuwin’s most opulent and age-worthy wines and are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian Artists. Prelude Vineyards wines are made from fruit producing the most readily expressive wines, with the objective that they will drink well soon after release, whilst the Siblings label celebrates family lineage and the many generations now leaving their footprints on Leeuwin Estate.
The Art Series Chardonnay has a proven track record, proprietor Denis Horgan having long ago set his sights on a long-aging style. The key is old-vine fruit from a 1975 planting at the family’s Stevens Road estate. Winemaker Tim Lorett gave the juice a little skin contact and let it settle for three days before fermenting it in new French oak barrels, where it later aged, with lees stirring, for 11 months. The warm vintage made for an expansive wine, even as the fruit retains fresh meadow-flower scents, zesty lemon notes and peachy clarity. The oak plays a prominent role, adding scents of caramel and rounding the creamy texture, while the fruit persists with elegance.
"2016 was an outstanding year, with an early, fine summer with daily sea breezes. Slightly above-average January and February temperatures were offset by a welcome 90mm of January rain. Markedly floral, there's a white blossom character to both nose and back-palate. It's a concentrated wine with gently granular fresh and dried pear notes, accompanied by silkier white peach. Succulent, ripe lemony acidity is well integrated and gently sheathed by nougat-inflected creamy lees. Lovely lithe mouthfeel and beautiful harmony." (Decanter 11/18.)