Friday, February 26, 2010


Leeuwin Estate's 2007 Art Series Chardonnay has just been released in Adelaide this week and with it comes the mandatory Melbourne Street Fine Wine tasting.

With the exception of the three new Art Series whites, I've already posted tasting notes on the Leeuwin wines available under my September 2009 post. However, this didn't prevent me from re-tasting the two Art Series reds, which I've provided some updated notes for.

One of my favourite Leeuwin wines, the Siblings Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, should see its 2009 vintage released soon, while the 2005 Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon should be released around April-May. Leeuwin's spent a bit of effort rejuvenating their flagship cabernet vines, which they hope will one day see the wine return to its status as a regional icon alongside the chardonnay. The 2004 Art Series Cabernet displays plenty of good signs, but the company rep informs me the 2005 is the one to keep your eyes peeled for.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling 2009 ($21) Quite ripe riesling nose, with stonefruit/lemon juice aromas backed by a flinty edge. Its palate is significantly forward, juicy and round, lacking the cut, precision and length of great riesling. 86

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($28.50) The 2009 reaffirms its status as one of Australia's best sav blancs in my eyes. Its clean, fresh vanilla oak and banana skin nose precedes a beautifully balanced and juicy palate of keenly restrained varietal quality. It's neither terribly complex or inherently fruity, but it drinks very well in more of a clean, textured style. 92

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2007 ($82.50) Classic Leeuwin nose with both fruit and oak well in attendance, if perhaps a bit oaky at this stage. Fresh and creamy vanilla/cedar oak leads the bouquet, with undertones of melon and white stonefruit present. Typically fuller, voluptuous and creamy in texture, with a nutty/savoury underlay to its fruit base which is significantly more refined than the 2006 wine. My only concern is its lack of truly penetrating length. 95

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz 2007 ($36) Interestingly enough, this wine's come up a lot better on the two occasions I've sampled it at tastings as opposed to when I consumed a whole bottle. Maybe I over decanted it? At this tasting it was back to the savoury/spicy red fruit and cedar oak style I recalled at the cellar door, unlike the vigorously ripened, generously fruited and sweetly oaked wine I reviewed back in October. Could be an interesting lesson in the differing perceptions of the tasting/home environment? With that in my mind my score based on today's encounter is back up to....91

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($53) Still easily the best wine I've had under this label. It was interesting to hear the rep mention how challenging the 2004 season was, as I can certainly recall a lot of superlative Margaret River cabernets from that year. The nose has a slight charry accent to its redcurrant, cassis and toasty cedar aromas, leading into a medium-bodied palate which is well poised, balanced and structured. With a dusting of finely powdered tannins it finishes quite savoury and dry, yet unusually spicy for the variety. I wish Leeuwin Estate the best of luck in seeing this recover its status as a regional benchmark. 92

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