96 Points James Halliday top 100 2011
Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Exceptional Langtons Classification. Great wines are born in great vineyards. At Leeuwin the viticulturist and winemaker work hand in hand throughout the winemaking process. Variations and deficiencies in the individual blocks have not been completely corrected so that the wine reflects the soil. Block 20 forms the backbone of Art Series. The young wine begins with true varietal power of great delicacy which requires up to twelve months lees contact in new French oak to draw out the complexity, losing none of that essential balance in the process.
One of Australia's baronial labels, the site of Leeuwin Estate was identified by legendary American winemaker Robert Mondavi in 1973, midway between Cape naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. There are sixty two acres of Chardonnay vines divided into eight distinct parcels. The soil and slopes of the plantings differ in each area and the cultural aspects of the viticulture are tailored to each parcel. Since the 1980 vintage Leeuwin Estate has adhered to vertical training and leaf removal to present the Chardonnay fruit properly to the light. The soil management has remained the same since inception. Each plot is harvested separately and kept separate throughout the winemaking and some of the maturation programme.
A brilliant green straw colour. The fresh nose is classical Leeuwin Estate, with intensely lifted aromas of ripe yellow pear skins, the petals of citrus blossom, nectarine and ripe peach accompanied by hints of fig, cashews and roasted pine nuts from barrel maturation on yeast lees with integrated and stylish French oak. The palate displays the mouth filling and intense flavours of fresh ripe pears which is full bodied and incredibly rich intermingling with delicious stone fruit flavours, nectarine and pineapple tart, the middle palate shows richness before turning to an elegance only found in the rarest of years that focus the flavours to a long land persistent finish which is both crisp and appealing.