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Leeuwin 'Art Series' Latest Releases: 2018 Chardonnay & Shiraz, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the top domaines in Australia and indeed the world, Leeuwin Estate have recently released the latest vintages of their 'Art Series' label.   At the pinnacle of quality and with a new artist designing the labels each year, James Suckling described a previous vintage of the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon as 'the Mouton-Rothschild of Australia - with a screw cap!'.  

Among these new releases is the 2018 Art Series Chardonnay, which may be their greatest vintage to date.  Scoring 97 points in Decanter Magazine, we can't wait to see what the other major critics make of it when they taste it.

The 2018 Shiraz and 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon are yet to be rated by the critics, but winemaker Tim Lovett has focused increasing love and attention on these reds, with the intention of equalling the ratings for the Chardonnay.

The cask samples which arrived with us back in the depths on an English February were like waft of cool air from the Indian Ocean (which is less than 5km from the estate).  No matter how many times we taste the Art Series, we are still taken aback by their classicism and freshness.  Tasted blind, we could easily place them in Burgundy, the Northern Rhone and Bordeaux.  Only their opulence points to Western Australia's Margaret River region.

What we noticed above all when tasting these the samples was just how much sheer pleasure and enjoyment the Art Series wines offer.  Capturing all of the finesse and elegance of their old world counterparts, there is still something exuberant about these wines which makes them particularly compelling for the summer ahead.

As ever, allocations are extremely limited, so please let us know straight away if you would like to secure some.

You will also find below some library stocks of older vintages of Leeuwin.

Offered pre-landing, available for delivery from July 2021.

Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, WA

Producer Profile

Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, WA

Denis Horgan established Leeuwin Estate in 1973, with the express intention of producing world-class wines.  One of the flagship wineries in Margaret River, 280km south of Perth, Leeuwin has also put itself on the map as an open-air concert venue with its own art gallery. 

Each Art Series release features a work by an Australian artist, earning it the sobriquet 'Australia's Mouton'.  Art Series Chardonnay was voted the greatest white wine in the world by Decanter magazine as far back as 1982.

Head winemaker Tim Lovett has been in charge since 2010 and has been working hard to bring the red wines up to the stellar level of the Chardonnay.

The Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon vines are planted on free-draining gravel soils, reminiscent of the Haut-Médoc.  The wine itself reminds us of a Pauillac or St-Julien, with a cool, balanced style.  Despite spending 23 months in 30-50% new oak, the effect is a balanced wine with structured tannins which will age for 20 years or more.  The Art Series Chardonnay spends 11 months in oak, but still has a fine line of acidity and minerality placing it firmly in a cool climate in any blind tasting.  

RED 2016 40 cases Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl £420 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
2016 / 40 cases / 75cl
£420 per case of 12
RED 2016 15 cases Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum £495 per case of 6 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
2016 / 15 cases / Magnum
£495 per case of 6
RED 2017 25 cases Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl £408 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 / 25 cases / 75cl
£408 per case of 12
RED 2018 Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 75cl £450 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon
2018 / / 75cl
£450 per case of 12
Tasting Notes"97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec. After individual berry sorting and cold soaking, fermentation took place in closed static fermenters at temperatures between 26 °C–30 °C with extraction by pumping over each individual parcel three times daily. After malolactic fermentation entirely in barrels and nine months of barrel maturation, separate parcels were blended for further maturation in French bordelaise-coopered barriques with seasonal rackings. The wine spent a total of 22 months in oak. Truly elegant in every way. One sip of this wine and I can feel its beauty. It has a pure-fruited translucency and the whisper of pine needles, a mint-cold freshness, tannins reaching long, tenacious, slender from top to bottom, embedded through the fruit. A wine with a sweet heart, taut purpose, exquisitely formed clarity. 17.5 points." (TC), Apr 2022
RED 2018 30 cases Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Shiraz 75cl £222 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Shiraz
2018 / 30 cases / 75cl
£222 per case of 12
Tasting Notes"Since Tim arrived at the winery a lot more attention to detail has been focused on the red wines and the quality of juice now being produced is outstanding. Tim is a huge fan of this varietal and a firm believer of its great potential in the Margaret River. The cooler nights, inspired by the maritime influence, bring a lift and a fragrance to the wine, which remind one of northern Rhône examples of this variety. Around 20% whole bunch is used, further adding lift and energy. The oak is a mix of new, I year and 2-year old barriques. This is a very stylish, refined wine of both depth and precision. Astonishing value. Drink from 2024." Importer's note.
WHITE 2019 Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Chardonnay 75cl £750 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Chardonnay
2019 / / 75cl
£750 per case of 12
Tasting Notes"Tasted from a mini sample bottle. 2019 was an excellent vintage in the Margaret River region. When making the blend for this wine, Leeuwin’s Senior Winemaker Tim Lovett picks the wines that are late bloomers in terms of flavour development, so giving the Art Series Chardonnay its longevity. The wines from blocks 20 and 22 consistently form the Art Series. Depending on the growing season, wine from some additional blocks may also make the grade. Cool destemmed fruit held on skins was combined with components of whole-bunch-pressed parcels. The juice was settled for 12–36 hours, racked and inoculated with yeast. 100% of the juice was barrel fermented in new French oak barriques and the lees were stirred regularly. After 11 months in barrels, the various components were blended, fined, cold stabilised and bottled. Masses of green-citrus-pressed acidity and tense smoke funk. Broom flowers, green melon. A rectangular wine. Feels as if it’s been hewn from stone, and only at the end is a tease of the honey and oat cream that will develop as it ages. I wouldn't go near this now, and I would probably decant, but it is difficult to assess such a complex wine from such a tiny sample. It needs time to open. 2024-2030. 17++ points." (TC), Apr 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, Mar 2022
WHITE 2019 23 cases Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Riesling 75cl £140 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Riesling
2019 / 23 cases / 75cl
£140 per case of 12
RED 2019 Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Shiraz 75cl £270 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Shiraz
2019 / / 75cl
£270 per case of 12
WHITE 2021 Leeuwin Estate - Art Series Riesling 75cl £210 per case of 12 Leeuwin Estate
Art Series Riesling
2021 / / 75cl
£210 per case of 12
Tasting NotesTasted from a mini sample bottle. 2021 was a milder Margaret River vintage. The Riesling harvest took place at night from 22 February, and lasted a week. 40-year-old Riesling vines planted on cool, south-facing slopes 68 m. Rocky lime green, acidity hard, parallel lines. Flinty and unforgiving. Like licking a sea-cliff face. 16.5 points." (TC), Apr 2022

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