99+ Points Ray Jordan
The “Art Series” represents Leeuwin’s most opulent & ageworthy wines from each vintage. They are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian artists.
Artwork: Kim Maple, entitled ‘Influence
By Ray Jordan
Leeuwin Estate is about to release what I believe is Australia’s greatest white wine, and the first I have given a score of 99-plus. Priced at $104 a bottle, the Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnay 2016 hits the shelves on April 1, and apart from being as near as dammit to perfection, will change the way Margaret River chardonnay is seen. It is a game changer. And it has given me a problem. You see, I gave the 2015 chardonnay 99 points, my highest score for an Australian white wine on release.
But the problem now is that the 2016 is a better wine. I don’t believe any wine has achieved perfection, but this one pushes it mighty close. So, all I can do is give it 99-plus.
For me, the 2016 Leeuwin is the closest thing, stylistically, to Burgundy — Grand Cru Burgundy — I have seen in an Australian chardonnay. The combination of power, intensity, palate length and precision stamps it as something special. A little element of Puligny, Chassagne, with more than a decent hit of Margaret River.
Deciding to give it 99-plus wasn’t taken lightly. I was pretty sure after the first taste a few weeks ago, surer after sharing a bottle with friends and finally convinced after a third assessment, when I tasted it several times over 24 hours to see how it opened up.
Leeuwin winemaker Tim Lovett described the vintage as “remarkable and spectacular” and a tribute to the underpinning contribution of the famous Blocks 20 and 22 that continue to lay the foundation for Art Series chardonnays.
“A marvellous wine that continues to mark the subtle shift to a style of more elegance and minerally finesse. There is such gorgeous texture and middle palate complexity here, with precise delivery through to a very long finish. Spices with floral notes, a touch savoury and understated mealiness that is part of this wine’s DNA. What a fitting wine to mark the 50th anniversary of Leeuwin Estate. (Best drinking: Now to 2032)” – 99+ Points Ray Jordan, The Weekend West Magazine, 23 March 2019