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2009 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
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- Cellar 5 - 8 years (2017-2020)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Screw Cap
There has been a lot of hype around an "unplugged" style of Aussie Chardonnay, the acoustic version if you like. Well, here is the full symphony - a powerful and superbly balanced wine which proves again why the Art Series Chardonnay is amongst Australia's best. Leeuwin's legendary "Block 20" vineyard sets the pace in this cuvee, with an audition process of sorts for the other sections of the vineyard. If the fruit can maintain balance after maturation in 100% new French oak then it may make it into the Art Series Chardonnay. However, it's not simply an experiment in how much oak some of the best Chardonnay grapes in Australia can wear. The focus here is still balance - how the other parcels interplay with the magnificent Block 20 component and retain the classic Art Series profile (sometimes described as the “Montrachet of Margaret River”). Many wines would wilt under such a heavy load of lumber, yet Paul Atwood and his team have employed some intuitive wine making to keep the wood in check. Principally the wine undergoes no maloactic fermentation, and so retains purity of fruit character and remarkable tension. Paul believes the chief function of malo in Chardonnay production is to balance acidity, not to interfere with the fruit's expressiveness for the sake of a few 'cheap', buttery thrills. Put simply, in Paul’s words “we are very happy with our acids just the way they are”. It's an approach that keeps the oak in balance, supports an incredibly intense mouth feel rarely seen outside of Burgundy (or at this value) and sets the Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay up as one of our longer lived examples in the cellar.
Brilliant, very pale straw colour with greenish tinge around the edges and watery hue. Superb nose with intense aromas of white peach, a touch of citrus and cashew followed by some subtle toasty oak, nougat and spice. Rich and super concentrated this is pure essence of Chardonnay delivering mouthfilling flavours of white peach, cashew and biscuit followed by some spice and light toasty characters that encompass every corner of the palate. A rich, creamy texture is superbly counterpointed against a perfect acid balance. Outstanding depth and persistence with exceptionally long, rich white peach, spice, cashew, biscuit and citrus aftertaste.
Cellar 5-8 years (2017-2020)
Alc 14.5% Other Reviews….
Medium to light yellow colour, backward for its age. Slightly biscuity, almost musty oak aromas. Took time to open up. The palate is lean and taut, unevolved and crisply acid. Seems to be still very much in its shell. Later: it began to blossom in the glass: powerful, penetrating, long and lingering. Some tropical fruit aromas as well as floral and grapefruit hints. Delicious flavours, a magnificent wine with a big future. This continues Leeuwin's change in style to a less oaky and much more restrained style than the blockbusters of yesteryear.
HuonHooke.com, May 2012