2012 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series

Year: 2012
Appellation: Margaret River
Country: Australia
Wine Spectator: 94
Wine Advocate: 92+
Vinous Media: 94
James Suckling: 95
Wine Enthusiast: 94--Jeremy Oliver: 97
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
Price :


2015 WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100: #76

"Amazingly focused, layered and expressive, with pear, lime, guava and floral flavors that meld harmoniously and linger on the creamy finish. Deftly pulls all the elements together into a cohesive whole, lingering effectively and precisely. Drink now through 2022. 3,000 cases made. –HS " (WS)

"The 2012 Chardonnay Art Series shows evolving toast and marzipan notes over a core of ripe apricots, candied ginger and butterscotch. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth with a satiny texture, the palate possesses a wonderful concentration of stone fruit and spice flavors with plenty of racy freshness and a good long finish." (WA)

"(fermented and aged in 100% new French oak barriques): Light, bright yellow. Musky pear skin and honeydew on the nose, with jasmine, ginger, vanilla and smoky mineral nuances adding complexity. Juicy, seamless and sharply focused, offering concentrated citrus and orchard fruit flavors that flesh out and become spicier with aeration. The mineral and floral qualities come back strong on the strikingly persistent, seamless finish. There's no way I'd have guessed that this wine was aged in all new oak." (VM)

"A wine with amazing richness and depth. So much apple pie character yet minerally underneath. Full body, so much length. Gorgeous. Drink now. Screw cap." (JS)

"Leeuwin's Chardonnay continues to be a standard-bearer for Margaret River and all of Australia. The 2012 Art Series is subtly toasty on the nose, blossoming with time into full-on crème brûlée aromas, while the palate offers creamy-textured notions of tropical fruit and custard. The long finish reverberates with fruit, suggesting plenty of aging potential, up to 10 or 12 years." (WE)

"Very fine and elegant, with a creamy perfume of white peach, melon and grapefruit whose tightly knit creamy vanilla oak is backed by nougat-like yeast-derived notes, hints of clove and lifted by yellow flowers. It’s medium to full-bodied, long and gentle, with pristine fruit and creamy, nutty undertones steadily building richness and depth towards its impressively balanced, emphatic and savoury finish. A real evolution of this famous style." (JO)

Winery Notes:
A typical mild winter with strong northwest frontal systems sweeping through before turning southwest and southerly. Although rainfall was below average, dams still filled and overflowed. Pruning was completed in September. Chardonnay budburst commenced in late August and reached full bloom in early to mid-November with consistently fine, sunny and warm days. Summer temperatures were above average with very few hot days, the afternoon sea breeze always a welcome cooling influence. A spectacular flowering of the locally dominant forest tree Marri followed by an equally spectacular flowering of Karri resulted in an impressive absence of hungry local birds.

Cool de-stemmed fruit with some skin contact. The juice was settled for three days, racked and inoculated with yeast. 100% of the juice was barrel fermented in new French oak barriques and the lees stirred regularly. After 11 months in barrels the various components were blended, fined, cold stabilized and bottled.

Concentrated, perfumed and youthful, the nose exhibits fresh pears and white nectarines with an underlying floral lift of lemon blossom. Subtle notes of pistachio, cinnamon quill, blanched almonds and rice wafer lie beneath. Powerful, yet very fine, the palate has tension with a thread of minerality. Limes, pear skin and lemon sorbet lead to a finely textured mid-palate, with layering and subtle oak integration. The purity and clarity of the fruit is the feature throughout.