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.
2017 is great. But it is just a baby. Clean, cashews, brine, ripe stone fruits, hint of caramelly oak, coconut and spice. The palate is lighter than I remember the young Art Series being. Dry, focused, nice acid, long, zesty, clean. It is a great wine. It is young, don’t drink it for about 10 years.
Is there a better Margaret River Chardonnay? Or indeed in Australia? There is no doubt to anyone who has tasted this wine that is it world-class. Coming from vines planted in 1974 it has depth and concentration. And recent tastings have shown that under screwcap, the wine ages at a slow rate. Almost frustratingly so.
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.