Home / World News / Ray Jordan’s verdict on the 2019 release of Leeuwin Estate’s esteemed Art Series chardonnay

Ray Jordan’s verdict on the 2019 release of Leeuwin Estate’s esteemed Art Series chardonnay

The 2019 Leeuwin Art Series chardonnay may well be one of the most polarising yet released. Coming hard on the heels of the wonderful 2018, it provides stark contrast in style.

The 2018 was rich, generous and almost opulent with its luxurious palate structure. But the ’19 is entirely different. Its tight, linear structure and distinctive chalky, minerally high-energy acidity aligns it closer to some of the wines of Burgundy than any I can recall in more than 40 Leeuwin vintages.

I just had to ask chief winemaker Tim Lovett about the wine which he agreed had certain elements that were found in some of the great Burgundies. Most pronounced is that chalky minerality and popcorn-like palate.

A few things have contributed to it — an increase to 35 per cent whole bunches, which Lovett believes adds a bright, natural acidity, the cooler, longer vintage and the continuing move to even tighter grained oak with some Burgundian coopered barrels.

Having said all of that, there is still the underlying depth and palate intensity that is part of the DNA of Leeuwin’s Art Series. Asking which is better might be like asking which of your children you prefer. My own leaning is probably still towards the 2018, but I might wake tomorrow with a different view entirely.

The two reds are among the best yet made at Leeuwin, with the seductively perfumed shiraz an illustration of how much work has been put into this variety since its rebirth some years ago.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnay 2019 ($138)

In many ways, the most Burgundian of any of the Leeuwin releases. This will rank with any that have ever been released. There’s a waxy, light, mealy aroma, which picks up nuances of limestone and spice with a trace of grapefruit. But it is the palate that really distinguishes it. There is an austerity with the minerally, chalky feel that cuts through the fruit, extending to a finish of extraordinary length. Precision and focus harness a wine of great power and poise. Dry savoury edges on the finish. 99/100

(Best drinking: 2024–2038)

Leeuwin Estate Art Series cabernet sauvignon 2018 ($85)

One of the last wines released from the great 2018 Margaret River vintage. This has to be one of the finest cabernets yet from Leeuwin. Supremely balanced and poised with stylish lines through to a very long finish. Scented aromas of cedar and leafy blackcurrant with a trace of oyster shell. The palate is quite brilliant with the distinct, chalky tannins and super-fine grained oak holding the fruit gently to its extended finish. Great wine here. 97/100

(Best drinking: Now-2040)

Leeuwin Estate Art Series shiraz 2019 ($41.50)

A 20 per cent inclusion of whole bunch fermentation has played a strong hand in elevating this beautiful example of the quality of the 2019 vintage. It has such life and vibrancy and that is largely due to that whole bunch inclusion. Brilliant, bright colour with hues of crimson and purple on the fringes. The palate is in that medium zone, with an effortlessly graceful ease about it. Spicy and perfumed with a mix of cherry and plum. Oak, which is a mix of one, two and new oaks, is brilliantly managed to gently coax all that is good from this variety. Love the mouth feel and the long, focused chalky feel in the mouth. 96/100

(Best drinking: Now-2034)

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Big Bash League: Aaron Hardie gets Optus Stadium pumping with hanger for Perth Scorchers

Optus Stadium has erupted as Aaron Hardie clutched a hanger worthy of the AFL early …

%d bloggers like this: