x
  • Country ranking ?

    135
  • Producer ranking ?

    5
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

Leeuwin Estate – purchased by Trish and Denis Horgan - lies just south of the Margaret River township. The Art Series’ Block 20 vineyard lies on deeply weathered and laterised soils with rocky outcrops of gneiss and ironstone gravels. Pristine chardonnay fruit characters are preserved throughout vinification. The wine is 100% barrel fermented in selected new French oak and matured in the same barrel for approximately 12 months. These are rare long-lived fine-boned chardonnays with superb fruit definition and clarity; they show a balance between exuberant fruit and savoury complexity. The palate is creamy yet a fine bead of acid cuts a swathe across the palate giving life and incredible length. It develops beautifully with grapefruit/melon aromas and complex lanolin nuances.

Top Vintages 2010, 2005, 2003,2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1987

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Wine Information

A youthful and expressive nose that features pears, white nectarines and lime flesh. Higher notes of jasmine and frangipani provide lift, fragrance and energy. Beneath lies a myriad of toasted sesame, vanilla pod, cinnamon quill and cardamom. A tight, seamless and elegant palate highlighted with figs, quince and lemon skin opens towards a delicately textured and contoured mid palate. Blanched almonds and hazelnuts weave through the primary fruits and textural layers, leading to a long and defined finish.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Leeuwin Estate and Giaconda  used to be the kings of Australian Chardonnay. Then a few things happened. Penfolds started to make a serious effort in the 1990s to bring high quality Chardonnay from cool climate sites to the market. Other producers from Margaret River (think Pierro, Cullen, Vasse Felix, to name a few) made complex wines to challenge Leeuwin. But probably most importantly, the style changed, with in particular Yarra Valley and Tasmanian Chardonnays pushing a leaner, more linear style, where drive and vitality became more important than complexity.

This in turn had an influence on Leeuwin Estate and Giaconda. This is obvious when I compared the 2011 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay and the 2008 Giaconda Chardonnay over Christmas. What sometimes used to be a bit of a tropical fruit salad on the palate of the Leeuwin Chardonnay is now more focussed and includes citrus flavours like lemon curd. The Giaconda wine is less oak dominated than in the past.

Talking about oak is important here. Many of the new wave Chardonnays have reduced the component of new oak. It only plays in the background, and this is largely a positive, given the great Chardonnay grapes we can grow in this country. Having said this, it is a great pleasure of drinking Chardonnay which can absorb 100% high quality French new oak without developing a butterscotch wine, as is the case with the two wines here.

The Leeuwin Chardonnay, at 7 years of age, is still young and fresh, with a mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavours, and an excellent balance. The finish is very long. The Giaconda Chardonnay shows the typical rich yellow colour. It is built on a bigger frame, with the oak more noticeable. This is the more powerful wine, with nectarine and hazelnut flavours dominating. Detailed acidity is driving the wine towards a long finish, also. 

Both wines: 95/+++

  • 95p
2011 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay Margaret River – Tasted March 2015 Hand harvests the old vines. Rest is machine harvested. 100% new oak. All barrel fermented 19-21C, no malo, acid isn’t high enough. I just love this wine… tight, mineral and elegant. Lovely spice and very intense fruit. Powerful, long and structured. 20 trial coopers in 2014. French cooperages. If they get it right, they buy 800-900 barrels per year. Epic wine. 95 points
  • 95p
Pale lemon yellow. Rich, fruity, vanilla and popcorn nose, ripe lemons. Fresh acidity, fruity, lively, bit oaky and up front, but manages to be fresh even so. Seems to scream for grilled white fish or lobster. Long. 92
  • 92p
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Information

Origin

Adelaide, Margaret River

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Inside Information

97 Points

"Art Series sits at the bigger end of Margaret River’s chardonnay power set, unashamedly proclaiming grand fruit presence within a robust fram of 100% new French oak. It has done so with an admirable measure of finesse in recent years, though I feared the warmer 2011 vintage might trouble this style. To the contrary, sniper-like precision in picking early has captured the magnitude of this label with greater clarity of acid line and elegant focus than ever. Introducing one of the great vintages for LEASMRC. Constant oak trials across 23 coopers and some 900 new barrels a year have made for impeccable oak integration, maintaining the purity of grapefruit zest, white peach blossom and succulent fig, overlaid with wonderful hints of struck flint and gunpowder. Epic persistence, laser-focused acidity and outstanding drive."

Tyson Stelzer, Wine Taste, 2014

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