Leeuwin Estate top drop in guide
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.
Ray Jordan with his latest edition of The West Australian Wine Guide.