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2003 Art Series Chardonnay

"The color is bright straw with lime green hues. The fresh nose is typical Leeuwin, with lifted aromas of dried pear and ripe peach accompanied by hints of cashews and integrated French oak. These flavors combine into a finely balanced bouquet; the result of very low yielding vines matched with subtle winemaking to preserve the richness of the fruit. The palate displays the mouth filling and intense flavors of dried pears with the middle palate showing richness from both the fruit and the lees stirring. The length, always a feature of Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay, is long and full flavored with a lingering fresh citrus finish. The new French oak complements the fruit providing a wonderful balance of warm toasty flavors on the finish."

 

Leeuwin Estate

Leeuwin Estate is a boutique family owned and operated winery located in the picturesque Margaret River district, 360km south of Perth, Western Australia. One of the icon wineries of Australia, it has earned an international reputation for making wines that rank alongside the world's finest.  With its warm, gentle summers, mild winters, ample rainfalls, rich soils and consistent growing seasons, the Margaret River region of Western Australia has earned an international reputation for producing wines of excellence.  Leeuwin Estate, one of the founding wineries of this now famous district, consistently produces wines that rank with the world's finest. 

 

In 1972, following an extensive search for the area most suitable to produce the best varietal wines in Australia, legendary American winemaker, Robert Mondavi, identified the future site of the Leeuwin vineyard.  Originally a cattle farm, Leeuwin Estate evolved, under the direction of Denis and Tricia Horgan, with Robert Mondavi acting as consultant and mentor.  At Leeuwin Estate there are sixty two acres of chardonnay vines divided into eight distinct parcels.  The soil and slopes of the plantings differ in each area and the cultural aspects of the viticulture are tailored to each parcel, therefore varying slightly.  
 

A nursery was planted in 1974 and the initial vineyards were deep-ploughed, deep-ripped, emptied of stone, planned, pegged, measured, marked and eventually planted by hand over a five year period from 1975.  Featuring state-or-the art facilities, the winery building was opened in 1978, celebrating with a trial vintage. Leeuwin enjoyed its first commercial vintage in 1979, and was thrust into the international spotlight when Decanter Magazine gave its highest recommendation to the 1980 "Art Series" Chardonnay in an international blind tasting. 

 

The Margaret River district features pristine white sandy beaches, spectacular coastline and amazing surf. It is surrounded by majestic karri forests, is nestled within picturesque farmland and enjoys a balmy temperate climate.  The area between Cape Naturaliste in the north and Cape Leeuwin in the south is one of the most ancient parts of the world, forming when the continental shelves split and left a 100 kilometre area between the two capes as a granite island.  The area immediately to the east formed a deep trough, which filled up with sand as a result of the prevailing winds. It is now one of the world’s largest mineral sands deposits.  Over millions of years this granite island crumbled, and now provides the vignerons of Margaret River with ancient free draining gravel soils. Oceans on three sides only change temperature by two degrees between summer and winter, resulting in a unique micro-climate.  85% of rainfall is received during six months, with very little rain during the ripening period.  The depth of soil generally supplies the bulk of the vineyard’s needs throughout the dry period.  The mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures during the summer season are very similar to those of Bordeaux, however the Margaret River season opens slightly earlier and closes slightly later, providing greater latitude for fruit to ripen. 

 

As a result of the environment, the weather conditions in an "average" year in Margaret River equate to that which Bordeaux only enjoys occasionally in "great" vintage years.  Great wines are born in great vineyards, and at Leeuwin the viticulturist and winemaker work hand-in-hand throughout the entire winemaking process, combining their skills to create wines of distinction.  Boasting one of the most modern wineries in the Southern hemisphere, Leeuwin Estate offers its winemakers all the advantages of new age technology.  Winemaking however is an art as well as a science, and it is here where the skills of the winemaker are carefully combined with technology to produce the wines that have been so highly acclaimed. 

 

Broadly following European winemaking techniques, Leeuwin is concentrating on achieving complexity, balance and longevity in its wines through a blend of modern and traditional methods.  Temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, two Bucher Pneumatic presses, and a cellar of imported French oak barrels, are at the disposal of the winemaker to ensure that the fruit is transformed into the intended style of wine.  The process of making premium wine is a long and painstaking one, made longer at Leeuwin because the winery matures the wines on site before release, thereby ensuring optimum ageing conditions. 

 

The "Art Series" represents Leeuwin's finest wines from each vintage. The winemakers have always selected the optimum fruit, transforming it into Leeuwin's highest quality wines for this label. They are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian Artists

 

These wines have received much international acclaim and attention. In particular the "Art Series" Chardonnays,  "Art Series" Cabernet Sauvignons, and "Art Series" Riesling have obtained outstanding reviews and classifications.  Leeuwin Estate continue to be collector wines and command lofty prices at auctions the world over. 

 

   

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