Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2014
This is one of the most backward Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay releases I have had in years.
Going back through my notes, it’s such a contrast to view this ’14 compared to the wine of ten years ago. Even in 2006 – one of the latest, coolest Margaret River vintages in living memory – LEAS Chardonnay has been a big wine. Big, rich, nutty, oak. Full tilt. But over the last few vintages the wine has changed, and this ’14 release is the first time that my internal monologue has clicked that Leeuwin’s Art Series Chardonnay isn’t a big wine anymore. Still fine, just different.
Indeed from the first whiff this is more contained. There’s classic melon and grapefruit with a dash of nougat and solidsy funk, the oak neatly integrated and the overall impression cool, contained and fresh. Still intense flavours in there, but they’re still hidden. Coiled. Waiting. The palate, too, is all promise, the depth of flavour easy to miss on first glance, only unfurling with air and patience. It’s still ripe, but if pressed I’d have guessed less than 13.5% alcohol such is the shape of the finish. Fresh.
A classy wine, but indeed it’s a different wine to what some might expect. It’s a wine of the now and for the future, ultimately demanding to be drunk in the future to show it’s best. Best drinking: 2018-2023. 18.5/20, 94/100+. 13.5%, $110. Would I buy it? I’d gladly drink and own it, though the dollars are steep given my crap wine writers budget.