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This has earned a reputation as one of Australia's finest chardonnays, and the 2014 doesn't disappoint. With a touch of matchstick on the complex apple-and-lemon nose and great freshness on the palate, its concentrated pear and toasty flavours will develop well in bottle. Whenever you decide to open it, it’s clear upon tasting why this wine has earned legendary status.
Product Code: AU20841
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Leeuwin Estate is one of the earliest commercial wineries in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, where the gentle maritime climate is well suited to the production of fine chardonnay and cabernet. The estate was founded in the 1970s by Denis and Tricia Horgan who where advised by the famous Robert Mondavi of California that the site was ideal for fine wine production. The first vintage was in 1979 and since then the estate has gone from strength to strength, consistently producing chardonnays that rank among the world’s finest and gaining recognition in international blind tastings. As well as an impressive range of wines, Leeuwin Estate now boasts a top-class restaurant and an art gallery. Labelled with original artworks, Art Series is the winery’s prestige range and the chardonnay bottled under this label, famous for its superb perfume, opulence and ability to age, is arguablyAustralia’s finest example of the grape, year-in year-out. The Prelude range is a more accessible expression of Leeuwin fruit, made with the objective of offering enjoyable drinking soon after release. Leeuwin are great believers in the screwcap closure and have even rebottled older library stock, painstakingly opening each bottle, tasting it, and then topping it up with another bottle from the same vintage before resealing with screwcap.
The isolated state of Western Australia is known for its spectacular scenery, golden-sand beaches and giant Karri tree forests. A relatively cool (in Australian terms) Mediterranean climate of warm, breezy summer days and cool nights dominates the wine-producing areas. The resulting wines tend to combine fruit ripeness with freshness – an unusual combination in Australia – which makes the wines particularly appealing.The Margaret River area was the first to suggest Western Australia’s potential for making premium wines. Elegant, ageworthy cabernet sauvignon originally put the spotlight on Margaret River and is still its trump card. Chardonnay shines here, too, as do the vibrantly fruity, zesty semillon/sauvignon blanc blends. Further south and west you find the Great Southern sub-region, 400 kilometres from Perth. The vineyards of the Great Southern region provide 37% of all the grapes produced in Western Australia. The five sub-regions – Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and the Porongorups – all have vastly different climatic conditions, but generally Great Southern is the coolest of all of Western Australia. The long growing season, relatively low rainfall, poor soils and low yields result in high-quality wines with excellent fruit intensity. The best wines of the region are riesling (dry, almost austere, with superb definition and purity) and shiraz, though sauvignon blanc is now attracting attention too. Further north, and closer to Perth, the Swan Valley was the first area of Western Australia to be commercially planted and despite some fierce summer temperatures can make crisp, fresh whites and full-bodied reds.
Yields were down but quality was good in much of Australia in 2014. The Hunter reported a terrific vintage of warm dry weather watered occasionally by well-timed rain. Margaret River continued its uncanny run of excellent vintages after early summer rain gave way to perfect conditions for the rest of the season. Victoria was trickier, with the Yarra Valley having a troublesome vintage overall after frost, poor flowering, and damp, windy weather. Barossa had a good but unspectacular vintage. Some late season rain spruced up the fruit after a dry summer and extended ripening which was all to the good. Western Australia enjoyed almost textbook good conditions. All-in-all a fine vintage.
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