Leeuwin Es­tate top drop in guide

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Wine - Ray Jor­dan The guide is avail­able on­line at west­wineguide.com.au and in all good book­stores and news agen­cies for $24.95.

Pi­o­neer­ing Mar­garet River win­ery Leeuwin Es­tate was the big win­ner in the 2019 edi­tion of The West Aus­tralianWine Guide, re­leased re­cently in book­stores and winer­ies across WA.

Lead­ing the way was Leeuwin’s breath­tak­ing Art Se­ries chardon­nay 2015, which was named wine of the year in my an­nual guide to the best in WA wines.

It nar­rowly pipped the Vasse Fe­lix Tom Cul­lity caber­net mal­bec 2014.

For the first time in the his­tory of the wine guide, two wines scored 99 points.

The Vasse Fe­lix was de­scribed as “tak­ing Mar­garet River to an­other level”, while the Leeuwin was “an im­pres­sive re­fine­ment and sub­tle ex­pres­sion while re­tain­ing the power that is part of this wine’s DNA”.

In short, both are ex­cep­tional wines, but in the end, I chose the Leeuwin Es­tate.

Sit­ting just be­hind these great wines was a galaxy of su­per­stars that showed the depth and qual­ity of the wines in the State.

In fact, in any other year wines such as the Cullen Kevin John chardon­nay 2017, Xanadu Re­serve chardon­nay 2016, Vasse Fe­lix Heytes­bury chardon­nay 2016, McHenry Hohnen Hazel’s Vine­yard chardon­nay 2017, Pierro Vin­tage Re­serve chardon­nay 2015 and Flame­tree S.R.S. Wall­cliffe chardon­nay 2017, or the Wood­lands Rus­sell caber­net sau­vi­gnon 2015, Houghton Jack Mann 2015 and Moss Wood Wilyabrup caber­net sau­vi­gnon 2015 would have been wor­thy win­ners of the ti­tle.

Leeuwin was also named win­ery of the year, re­flect­ing the con­tin­u­ing evo­lu­tion of the reds to elite sta­tus, the on­go­ing re­fine­ment of the great Art Se­ries chardon­nay and sub­tle tweaks in other more mod­estly priced wines that have cre­ated a com­plete port­fo­lio of ex­cel­lence across dif­fer­ent style and price points.

To un­der­line the dom­i­nance of the es­tate, chief wine­maker Tim Lovett was named wine­maker of the year.

Lovett is the third wine­maker in Leeuwin’s his­tory, which started with Bob Cartwright and passed to Paul At­wood be­fore he took over in 2016.

The qual­ity of wines com­ing un­der Lovett’s watch is su­perb and the stan­dard across all ranges has never been bet­ter.

Lovett said it was a “com­plete priv­i­lege and hon­our to gain such recog­ni­tion” and he paid tribute to the vine­yard and wine­mak­ing teams, and the Hor­gan fam­ily. “Not enough can be said to de­scribe their vi­sion, their per­spec­tive and their pas­sion,” he said. “Our Art Se­ries Chardon­nay un­der­lines the hall­marks of what we set out to achieve — pu­rity and clar­ity of fruit, with a pre­cise sense of place.”

This is the 19th edi­tion of the an­nual guide and fea­tures tast­ing notes and scores for more than 600 WA wines.

Pic­ture: Ian Munro

Ray Jor­dan with his lat­est edi­tion of The West Aus­tralian Wine Guide.

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