Leeuwin Estate has set a high benchmark for many years. They are constantly lauded for their Margaret River Chardonnay and Cabernet, but their whole range is stunning.
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2018 Wine Notes
The West Australian
27 February 2021
“Let’s put it this way. This is the closest I have come to awarding a wine 100 points…Stellar wine from a stellar vintage. The remarkable this is that this is a wine 100 percent barrel fermented in new French oak barriques with regular lees stirring for 11 months – and it certainly doesn’t taste excessive, or even slightly oak. It has such high-fidelity purity with complex seductive aromatics of vanilla bean and light oatmeal with a cutting minerality and spicy lift. But the palate, oh the palate. This is where things start to explode. Power, poise and persistence with a dry savouriness balancing the intense ripe fruit. It is such a long finish with an ever so slightly, charry finish completing a remarkable wine.”
Three hours south of Perth is this land of Cabernet and Chardonnay. Right on the ocean, the climate allows the grapes to mature slowly on the vine. The wines are more powerful in the North and more elegant in the south. The best wines are world-class and are priced to reflect this.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to, and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring, as can malolactic fermentation.
The invasion of “Sunshine in a bottle” put Australian wine on the map. The fruity, easy-going, somewhat samey wines were endearing for a short time. Then the next big thing knocked them off their perch.
This forced producers to increase quality and emphasise the special terroirs of Australia. Of which, there are many. And many more yet to be discovered.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
It is interesting to know that you can make white wine from almost any grape. The colour comes from the skins, and if there is no contact, there is no colour. White wines tend to be delicate, perfumed, higher in acid and lower in alcohol. It seems for this and many other reasons, it is hard to make an incredibly impressive white wine. But those that have mastered the art are indeed some of the best winemakers in the world.
It is a falsehood to think that white wine does not age as well as red wine. But it is correct that white wine, as a rule, doesn’t age for as long.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.