2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

From one of the coolest vintages in Margaret River’s history comes this remarkable wine, a wine that some experts have described as the best white wine made in Australia.

Well since there was just the two of us at home for this New Years Eve, we easily conjured up an excuse to bring a bottle of this masterpiece from the cellar.

The food was miso salmon with cucumber and mint salad, a great dish for a hot NYE dinner outside. The food was almost overrun by the wine, such is its power and intensity; but no matter, we happily ran out of superlatives and drooled on every last drop.

Rather than tire you with my amateurish description of this great work of art, it may be worth looking at what some of our leading wine scribes have had to say about this gem over the last couple of years.

Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer, Taste Food & Wine 2009 
“2006 Art Series is one of the very greatest vintages of one of Australia’s top Chardonnays ever made. On a world scale, this is as good as Chardonnay ever gets anywhere outside of Burgundy. It strikes the quintessential balance between control and concentration, power and finesse. Its length is so heroic that minutes later nothing has changed the slightest bit in the mouth. As far as ‘art labels’ go, we would prefer this to a bottle of Mouton-Rothschild.”

97 points, Ray Jordan’s WA Wine Guide 2009
“There is great depth and power in the tight structure, with stacks of grapefruit meal and subtle roasted cashew. The cool year resulted in one of the highest malo contributions in Art Series but has added immeasurably to the wine. Need I say it, but this will be another great Leeuwin.”

Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Age, Epicure, June 2009
“ART Series is on most lists of the top chardonnays and this ’06 edition doesn’t disappoint. It exemplifies Leeuwin’s rich Margaret River style via seamless integration of concentrated stone fruit, creamy and nutty characters, a hint of burnt mach, and skilfully handled oak. It has poise despite high alcohol, and long, fine finish.”

97 points, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront Monthly, February 2009
“…this is as good as a young Art Series gets. It’s a fantastically restrained, lengthy, elegant wine, its mass of flavour coiled so tight and intricately that it almost presents as delicate. It tastes of grapefruit, fresh-cut lemons, toast, sawdusty oak and green apples. It is very, very long. This vintage was very cool, and it has produced an exceptionally tight, reserved, sophisticated wine that should age for a good long time. Not in-your-face and obvious, but classic.”

97 points, James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2010
Bright and youthful colour; a complex array of nectarine, grapefruit and spice, particularly cinnamon, is offered on the bouquet; the palate exhibits understated power, with grilled nut  supporting the very generous, yet refined, level of stone fruit and oak; the finish is staggeringly long, fine and complex…”

Your honour, I rest my case, safe in the knowledge that the overwhelming evidence shows that this really is one of the most wonderful white wines I have ever been fortunate enough to drink. We went to wine heaven.

Next case!!

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