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The wines of Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia

Stevens Road, Margaret River, WA 6285
Phone: (08) 9757 6253 Fax: (08) 9757 6364
Website: www.leeuwinestate.com.au  
E-mail: infor@leeuwinestate.com.au

[N.b. see more recent review of these wines based on a visit in April 2007]

Established in 1974 by financier Denis Horgan, Leeuwin Estate is a premium-level Margaret River winery that is famous for producing what most critics rate as Australia’s leading Chardonnay. However, while the focus is on the Chardonnay, don't overlook the brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon. It's classy, restrained and a great example of the Margaret River style. Two ranges are produced: the Art series wines are the more expensive, but the Prelude wines are pretty impressive, although this is technically the second label. Altogether there are just over 90 ha of vines here and annual production is in the range of 60 000 cases. Prices given are those from Domaine Direct, the UK importers.

Art Series Riesling 2001
Attractive, crisp lemony/floral nose is very rounded, with some citrus notes. Good concentration on the palate with a sherbet-like edge. Tasty stuff. Very good (£8.87)

Art Series Chardonnay 1999
On the basis of its track record over the last couple of decades this is widely regarded as Australia’s leading expression of this grape. Intense, nutty creamy nose is very refined and harmonious. The concentrated palate shows soft fruit and some savoury complexity. Very rich, well integrated but prominent oak. Full, ripe and balanced. Very good/excellent (£27.60)

Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Deep coloured with a slightly fading rim. Ripe berry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose with a creamy, mineral edge. The palate shows ripe berry fruit with some herby, spicy complexity. Quite restrained and in balance, this is very classy stuff. Noticeably Western Australian in style with an almost lush, silky texture. Very good/excellent (£17.62)

Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
There’s a lovely chalky, mineral edge to the expressive nose. It’s in perfect balance, with lush berry fruit and a lovely, chunky savouriness on the palate. There’s some tannic structure, minerality, and the fruit is beginning to fade just a little. Delicious stuff drinking well now, this is a little more complex than the 1996, but still restrained. Excellent (£17.62)

Prelude Chardonnay 2000
Lovely herby fruit and a touch of nuttiness on the nose; very refined. Good concentration and balance on the restrained palate with some classy oaking evident. Very good/excellent  (£11.50)

Prelude Cabernet Merlot 1998
Slightly fading at the rim, with an attractive leafy edge to the blackcurrant fruit. The palate shows restrained, Bordeaux-like berry fruit on the palate, with a leafy character. Quite a classy, mid-weight wine with a savoury finish. Very good+ (£11.50)

UK Importer Domaine Direct (www.domainedirect.co.uk)
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