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2016 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
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- Cellar 6 - 8 years (2025-2027)
- ABV 13.5%
- Closure: Stelvin
Margaret River experienced one of its best all round vintages in 2016 with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz the standout varieties. The Chardonnay was 100% barrel fermented and aged for 11 months in new French oak barriques with regular lees stirring.
Sophisticated, intense and dazzlingly long.
Brilliant pale straw colour with greenish tinged edges and a watery hue. Offering up a kaleidoscope of aromas the refined, intensely scented nose sees white peach, nectarine and light dried honey notes overlaid by cashew. Spicy nougat, biscuit and subtle gun flint nuances also chime in to provide an extra layer of complexity. Elegant and regal yet seriously potent and long, the palate is filled with ripe white peach, nectarine and biscuity cashew characters which sit over dried honey, nougat and spice elements. Beautifully textured creamy like, yet vibrant mouthfeel finishing with good freshness. A dazzlingly long aftertaste lingering well after the wine has been swallowed. Magnificent.
Cellar 6-8 years.
Leeuwin Estate is about to release what I believe is Australia’s greatest white wine, and the first I have given a score of 99-plus. The Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2016 hits the shelves on April 1, and apart from being as near as dammit to perfection, will change the way Margaret River chardonnay is seen. It is a game changer. And it has given me a problem. You see, I gave the 2015 chardonnay 99 points, my highest score for an Australian white wine on release. But the problem now is that the 2016 is a better wine. I don’t believe any wine has achieved perfection, but this one pushes it mighty close. So, all I can do is give it 99-plus.
For me, the 2016 Leeuwin is the closest thing, stylistically, to Burgundy — Grand Cru Burgundy — I have seen in an Australian chardonnay. The combination of power, intensity, palate length and precision stamps it as something special. A little element of Puligny, Chassagne, with more than a decent hit of Margaret River. Deciding to give it 99-plus wasn’t taken lightly. I was pretty sure after the first taste a few weeks ago, surer after sharing a bottle with friends and finally convinced after a third assessment, when I tasted it several times over 24 hours to see how it opened up.
Leeuwin winemaker Tim Lovett described the vintage as “remarkable and spectacular” and a tribute to the underpinning contribution of the famous Blocks 20 and 22 that continue to lay the foundation for Art Series chardonnays.
A marvellous wine that continues to mark the subtle shift to a style of more elegance and minerally finesse. There is such gorgeous texture and middle palate complexity here, with precise delivery through to a very long finish. Spices with floral notes, a touch savoury and understated mealiness that is part of this wine's DNA. What a fitting wine to mark the 50th anniversary of Leeuwin Estate. (Best drinking: Now to 2032)
Ray Jordan, The Weekend West Magazine
Straw-green in colour and powerful from the outset. Pure, juicy pear, white peach, sparks of spice, cedar wood and wood smoke. The flavours trigger each other, the finish then a powerful sling out and onwards. Its beauty is entirely worthy of admiration. Exactly where the power stops and the delicacy starts is difficult to tell, though it seems to happen at some point, even if the wine's insistence never lets up. The quality march of Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay is relentless. Drink by 2032.
Campell Mattinson - James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion