Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leeuwin Chardonnay

As we know, Leeuwin is a star producer of Chardonnay, but the rest are more miss than hit. Of the current releases, the 2006 Art Series Riesling is a little sweet, the 2006 Art Series Shiraz is full of pepper, lacking fruit and the Cabernet doesn't hit the spot very often.

The second label Prelude Chardonnay is often better than most Australian Chardonnays. The 2006 is no exception. The fruit is a mix of pear, grapefruit, peach and mango, it has nutty undertones also. The wine is quite perfumed and shows understated oak - a sophisticated drink.

Now to the main game: the 2005 Art Series Chardonnay. In summary, I was blown away. This wine is perfect and perhaps the best Australian Chardonnay I have ever tasted. If you think it is pricey, I suggest you drink a bit less white wine, but buy a few of these. The fruit flavours are similar to the Prelude, but more intense. What strikes me is the perfect balance this wine has: many flavours, but still some linearity, substantial oak supporting the fruit, unusual length of flavour for a white wine and a mouthfeel which hits on the front palate and carries the wine through evenly to the back. Pierro is often discussed as a challenger, and it can be in the fruit area in good years, but the perfect structure of this wine is unmatched. Only Leeuwin's 2001 and 2002 Chardonnays would come close to this one. The 05 is perhaps a little fuller, but still displays steely characteristics. This wine will age well.

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