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  • Country ranking ?

    88
  • Producer ranking ?

    5
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035

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"In many ways the most Burgundian of any of the Leeuwin releases, this will rank up there with the best to date. There’s a waxy light mealy aroma which picks up nuances of limestone and spice with a trace of grapefruit. But it is the palate that really distinguishes it. There is an austerity with the minerally chalky feel that cuts through the fruit extending to a finish of extraordinary length. Precision and focus harness a wine of great power and poise before dry savoury edges lift the finish.”

99 points, White Wine & Chardonnay of the Year

Ray Jordan, WA Wine Review 2023

March 2022

"Preservation of pristine fruit characters through vinification and maturation remains at the heart of winemaking. This of course starts in the vineyard where observations, reaction and mitigation of environmental patterns are key to vineyard management practices. The vineyard blocks have a north facing aspects and the rows run in an east-west direction. The morphology of the Gingin clone sees the berries ripen differently. The smaller berries usually possess slightly higher sugars and acidity. Vintage takes place in mid-February to early March and the grapes (about 2-3 kilos per vine) are hand-harvested when they have reached a point of ‘energy, bone and pop!’ This translates to intense pure fruit aromas, richness of flavour, fine al dente textures and fresh indelible acidity. These are the hallmark qualities of Gingin clone chardonnay. I have often wondered at the clone’s provenance and passing resemblance to Meursault. Pale colour. Intense lemon curd, grapefruit, peach, tropical fruit aromas with underlying roasted cashew/ hazel nut notes. Lovely grapefruit, lemon curd, tropical fruits, fine persistent chalky textures, attractive mid plate volume and fresh long indelible acidity. Finishes al dente, with savoury oak note. Still elemental but wonderfully balanced with the fruit density and torque to last the distance. Now – 2036"

98+ points

Andrew Caillard MW, The Vintage Journal

March 2022

"The 2019 Art Series Chardonnay is rich and savory but pure and saline too. There is white peach, red apples, curry leaf and brine. The way the flavor moves across the palate is testament to the phenolics that course through the wine; it’s all at a perfect intersect of fruit power, tannin and perfectly judged acidity. The flavor stains the palate and lingers in an unravelling spool of thread in the mouth long after the wine has gone. A stupendously good wine."

98 points

Erin Larkin, Robert Parker Wine Advocate

7 July 2022

"Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay on release is an achingly painful thing to drink, because once you've known the utter pleasure these wines bring at 5 or more years of age, it becomes a mess of cognitive dissonance to drink them so young. They are closed, taut, coiled, but more than anything, populated by rippling fruit that undulates untold through the interminably long finish. They typically don't reveal their kaleidoscopic spice and prismatic fruit flavour until a little further down the track. So, all I can humbly do here, is place the vintage in context. Through the lens of the cool year, this glitters with a purity and finesse that is deeply attractive. Aligned in style with the 2017.”

98 points

Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion

10 March 2022

"Gloriously perfumed, pure and precise, with heady lily opening up. Softly smoky, slow-burn oak suffuses the palate without detracting from the classic, fresh-cut and succulent poached pear, with firmer al dente pear skin and a touch of custard apple sweetness. Lanolin, cinnamon and lemon puff biscuit bring texture and nuance. Terrific length, poise and intensity, with lingering fruit and perfume. Archetypal Art Series."

98 points

Sarah Ahmed, Decanter Premium

2022

"One of Australia’s most iconic wines and certainly our most famous Chardonnay. That means it can never put a foot wrong – the clamour of horror would be deafening if a release fell short, whereas if it maintains the incredible standards it has set over decades, there is little more than a ho-hum. Well, ho-hum, this is stunning stuff. Just a brilliant wine. World class. An extraordinary blend of opulence, fresh energy, purity of flavour, intensity and length. Stonefruit notes, lemon zest, oystershell and almond notes. Hints of mandarin and peach and even a touch of ripe mango. The oak is integrating well and will become even more so in the coming years. Focus is laser-like. Glorious now, but there is so much more ahead, with more complexity and tertiary flavours to emerge as it ages. Expect this to be thrilling winelovers in a decade, if there is any left. This release, as they all are, will inevitably be compared with the finest from both Australia and Burgundy. It sits very comfortably among the best. Wonderful now, but it has so much more to reveal.” 

98 points

Ken Gargett, WinePilot.com

May 2022

"It’s interesting to note the more refined, tighter style that Leeuwin has delivered over the last handful of years. They are still powerful, and rich in oak, but show less alcohol warmth and what you might call ‘breathiness’ these days. Anyway, a very good vintage for Chardonnay was 2019. Pear, lemon oil, grapefruit, ginger, cinnamon and cedar oak, with a distinctly savoury sort of hazelnut character, along with some vanilla and white flower perfume. It’s tight, powerful, saline and precise, with a firm flintiness to texture, quite chalky, and superb spicy length and an almost umami aftertaste. I’m thinking grapefruits and biscuits, grilled nuts, even citrus zest. And for all its power and oak, it keeps itself racy and refined. It’s a cracking release.”

97 points

Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

March 2022

"Pale lemon, with a stylish nose of fennel, preserved lemon and cigar box spice. A delicate frame of spicy oak sits nicely alongside the fruit, finishing with toasted brioche and mealy flavours. Then a saline edge kicks in. There's tension yet generosity to the fruit. This is an outstanding wine, nothing feels forced, the fruit has been picked with precision timing. This lives up to its mantle as one of Australia's best, a brilliant release."

97 points

Gabrielle Poy, TheRealReview.com

June 2022

"Fresh almond on first taste, then fresh citrus and white nectarine flavours dance on the palate. Subtle oak, fine silky texture. Will age wonderfully”.

Highly Recommended

Roger Jones, Justin Knock MW & Julia Sewell, Decanter Magazine

November 2022

“Succulent and distinctive, with crème fraîche, tahini and salted butterscotch notes up front that are aromatic and appealing, with fresh-grated ginger, mouthwatering acidity and a vibrant, juicy mouthful of dried pineapple, pomelo and yuzu flavors at the core. Ultimately, the tension between all the balanced elements creates a complex, stunning wine. Drink now through 2027.”

95 points

MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator Insider

 

Immaculate, powerful, intense nose with purity and clarity of primary fruit characterised by pear, white peach, lime curd and custard apple. There are infinite layers of brioche, grilled hazelnuts, cinnamon quill, shaved nutmeg, black cardamom and almond meal. A thread of graphite in the background adds elegant complexity.

Penetration and drive with incredible shape and frame on the palate. The symmetry of layers, contours and overall balance is precise. Pear, cut lime and nectarine are definite throughout. Sweet spice and elegant oak use sit neatly with the fruit, underlined by a delicate acid line, leading to a palate with effortless length.

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The Story

Immaculate, powerful, intense nose with purity and clarity of primary fruit characterised by pear, white peach, lime curd and custard apple. There are infinite layers of brioche, grilled hazelnuts, cinnamon quill, shaved nutmeg, black cardamom and almond meal. A thread of graphite in the background adds elegant complexity.

Penetration and drive with incredible shape and frame on the palate. The symmetry of layers, contours and overall balance is precise. Pear, cut lime and nectarine are definite throughout. Sweet spice and elegant oak use sit neatly with the fruit, underlined by a delicate acid line, leading to a palate with effortless length.

 

Cool destemmed fruit with some skin contact. The juice was settled for 3 days, racked and inoculated with yeast. 100% of the juice was barrel fermented in new French oak barriques and the lees stirred regularly. After 11 months in barrels the various components were blended, fined, cold stabilized and bottled.

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Wine Information

An excellent vintage across all varietals. Winter of 2017 was typically wet, with Chardonnay being the first variety to burst in late August, followed by the Riesling and Cabernet through September. Flowering in all varieties was approximately ten days earlier than in vintage 2017, and Chardonnay cap fall was mostly complete by November 13. Spring was met by generally mild conditions, with the usual showery and sunny periods resulting in excellent set across most varieties. Summer was warm with very few hot days, and veraison occurred two weeks earlier than in 2017. 2018 was a spectacular year for flowering of the local Marri trees, which kept birds distracted from the ripening vineyards. Harvest commenced in the Riesling in the middle of February, followed by Chardonnay a week later.

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Vintage 2018

 Very promising quality with the most bullish commentators declaring 2018 great in every region and for every variety. The more circumspect view is that early frosts reduced yields, but good, consistent weather throughout the second half of the growing season did indeed result in great potential.

2018 Barossa vintage one to savour

Barossa 2018 vintage wrapped up at the end of April 2018, with grape growers and winemakers happy with a high-quality vintage and good yields.

“Flavours and colours in reds are wonderful, and natural acids in the Eden Valley whites surprisingly high, with early standout varieties this year including Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet”, said Yalumba head of winemaking Louisa Rose.

The growing season started off well, with Winter 2017 rainfall around 10% higher than average. However, Spring rainfall was only 78% of average in Barossa Valley (BV) and 98% in Eden Valley (EV), and December rainfall was only 57% of average in BV (88% in EV).

Drier soils, combined with warmer than average October and November days (October 2ºC above average in BV (1.8 ºC in EV) and November 1.1ºC above average in BV (1.6 ºC in EV), meant the vine canopies grew quickly; flowering well and setting a good number of bunches.

January and February were warm and dry, with very warm temperatures in February slowing down the pace of ripening. January was slightly above average (1.4ºC during the day but closer to average at night) and February was about average during the day, but with significantly warmer than average night time temperatures in Barossa Valley (5.8ºC warmer).

With summer rainfall 50% of average, growers with access to water, soil moisture monitoring, good irrigation management and healthy soils experienced less stress – and subsequently delivered sound fruit and consistent yields.

The Indian summer of March and early April was ‘the icing on the cake’, with average temperatures, without extremes, perfect for finishing off vintage. The 28-30mm of rain on 14/15 April did not cause any major problems for picking – and was a welcome post-harvest watering for most Barossa growers.

Overall, in 2018, Barossa Valley crushed 56,970 tonnes*, down 22% from the 2017 vintage but 9% above the five-year average. In 2018, Eden Valley crushed 11,593 tonnes*, down 3% from 2017.

The total Barossa crush of 68,563 tonnes* contributed 9% of the total volume and 25% of the total value of the South Australian crush.

Average prices for Barossa Valley varieties remained steady in 2018, with Shiraz at $2252 per tonne 1% down on last year. In Eden Valley, the average price for Shiraz increased 11% to $2636 per tonne and Cabernet Sauvignon increased 15% to $2354.

*Wine Australia estimates the SA Winegrape crush response rate is 85%, so the actual total Barossa crush is estimated at 75,000 to 80,000 tonnes.

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Tasting note

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Written Notes

This was a freak vintage in the hands of many winemakers in WA, capable of power, balance, ripeness and glory. This has pomegranate, red licorice and peppered raspberry. The fruit flavours, while slinky and seductive, are not the major player here. And that is saying something. The key to the brilliance of this wine, like the '14, the '10 and to some extent the '05 before it, is the texture. The tannins. They are tightly woven, very fine and serve to support the fruit and the acid. This wine is built on a stable scaffold of tannin that both cushions the experience and defines it. What a wine

  • 97p

A complex and layered nose of blackcurrants, fresh mint, pine cone and red licorice. Medium- to full-bodied with fine, structured tannins. Succulent and well constructed with a solid core of black fruit. Leafy herbs and black tea character add welcome depth. Delicious. So attractive right now but will age wonderfully. 97% cabernet sauvignon and 3% malbec. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

  • 95p
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Information

Origin

Adelaide, Margaret River

Other wines from this producer

Art Series Chardonnay

Art Series Riesling

Art Series Sauvignon Blanc

Art Series Shiraz

Cabernet Merlot Prelude Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

Leeuwin Estate Brut

Margaret River Shiraz

Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Prelude Vineyards Margaret River Chardonnay

Siblings Shiraz

state Prelude Vineyard Chardonnay

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