Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2012

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2012

Sale price$245.00
Wallcliffe, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Style: White Wine

Variety: Chardonnay

Closure: Screwcap

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Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2012

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Leeuwin Estate

Country: Australia

Region: Margaret River

Vintage: 2012

Critic Score: 98 and 19/20

Alcohol: 14.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2032

Lovely finesse, line and length. A terrific wine. The fragrance haunts the empty glass - Huon Hooke

Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2015
Halliday Wine Companion Best Chardonnay of 2017

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay needs no introduction. It is an icon of Australian wine and is one of Langton's Heritage Five which celebrates Australia's most exceptional and ground-breaking wines - the other four being Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace, Mount Mary Quintet and Wendouree Shiraz. It is often compared favourably with great White Burgundies. "The Art Series Chardonnay is Australia's finest chardonnay based on the wines of the last 30 vintages. The move to screwcap brought a large smile to the faces of those who understand just how superbly the wine ages."  James Halliday

"For lovers of chardonnay, Leeuwin Estate needs no introduction; it's a trailblazer. Compact with stone fruit, figs and citrus, fuller-bodied lots of layers and the perfect amalgamation of leesy characters, ripe fruit and acidity. A joy to drink."  Jane Faulkner

The Art Series Chardonnay is sourced primarily from the 1976-planted Block 20 and supplemented with fruit from the 1978-planted Block 22. The quality of the vineyard is well recognised and remains the backbone of the Art Series Chardonnay. The vineyard blocks are planted to the Gingin clone on a series of rolling hills facing all directions. 

"A concentrated and vibrant aroma, highlighted by lime curd, juicy pears and lemon flesh in the foreground. Beneath lies subtle complexities of cinnamon quill, black cardamom, amongst toasted hazelnuts and pecans. An open, textural and layered entry continues to a youthful and fine palate with laced acidity and a seamless finish. Cut limes, pears and white peach dominate the palate, woven with savoury almonds, sweet spice and seamless elegant length. Cellar 15 years. Volumes were down, but the quality was exceptional.”  Leeuwin Estate


Leeuwin Estate
 The Leeuwin Estate story

Expert reviews

"A very youthful bright green-quartz colour sets the scene for a riveting wine of exquisite purity and finesse. It almost floats in the mouth, so effortless is its invocation of all things chardonnay: white flowers, white stone fruits and immaculately balanced acidity. Oak? Well, yes it's there, but rendered mute by the fruit. Has greater staying power than any other Australian chardonnay. Screwcap. 14.0% alc. Drink by 2032."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 98 points and Special Value Wine  ★ 

"From the first sniff of the marvellous mix of nougat and grapefruit, with subtle infusions of white peach, you just know this is something special. It is a more fruit-driven wine than the 2011, with a beautifully integrated palate striking such a perfect balance of oak and fruit. It's finer, with an effortlessness about it, but with a depth and power that extends through to the very long finish. This is a wine that will live for many years."  Ray Jordan – 98 points

"Leeuwin Estate has released 33 Art Series Chardonnays since the 1980 initial vintage. They are unquestionably Australia's most consistent great chardonnay producers over those decades, and the three most recent vintage releases, the 2010, 2011 and 2012, merely confirm that status. In the past 12 months, the 2011 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay was awarded James Halliday's Wine Companion Chardonnay of the Year. It was more recently selected as the number five wine in the American Wine Spectator's (the world's most influential commercially available wine magazine) Top 100 International Wines for 2014- which is based on price, quantity and quality. The 2010 vintage is even better drinking at the moment. The 2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series has just been released. This wine has all of the great length of Australia's finest white wines but is of a change of style in that it is leaner, less viscous and opulent and has slightly more beautiful balance and texturing, with high-quality fine-grained oak characters. It is of a higher-quality European style than the usually fuller Margaret River examples. Leeuwin Estate's chardonnays consistently hit their best at eight to 12 years of age and then gradually improve for approximately eight to 10 years, so this wine will still be magnificent in 2030. Drink 2017-2030. The chardonnay's great, lean and dry length, magnificent finish and after-taste ensure that it is another classic that is amongst Leeuwin's eight to 10 greatest chardonnay releases. This immediately puts the wine amongst the top 20 Australian chardonnays ever made."  John Jens, Western Suburbs Weekly – 18.9/20 points

"For lovers of chardonnay, Leeuwin Estate needs no introduction; it's a trailblazer. Compact with stone fruit, figs and citrus, fuller-bodied lots of layers and the perfect amalgamation of leesy characters, ripe fruit and acidity. A joy to drink."  Jane Faulkner – 97 points

"Finesse and poise are the features of this sublime wine. Seamless and restrained, with a spine-tingling presence. Almost ethereal, there is a nervous tension to the wine. A little polarising, but a personal favourite."  Brendan Jansen MW, Fine Wine Club (Vertical Tasting 2000 – 2016 vintage, Tasted May 2019)

"Light yellow hue and a remarkably subtle, discreet (for Leeuwin) bouquet, with cashew and almond, lemon, grapefruit and spice, all very subtle, and a trace of honey. It's much more reserved than some vintages of this wine. Lovely finesse, line and length. A terrific wine which will only get better over the next few years. The fragrance haunts the empty glass. (100% new oak. No malo). Drink: 2015-2027."  Huon Hooke, The Real Review – 96 points

"Great to see Margaret River's most recognized Chardonnay in such good form. This has all the power one associates with Leeuwin – with the 100% new oak being totally absorbed by the fruit – while the palate is textured, balanced and extremely long."  Philip Rich, Decanter Magazine – 96 points

"Pale colour. Lime, lemon curd, and grapefruit aromas with flinty hint of lanolin notes. Supple textured wine with plentiful lime, lemon, grapefruit, tonic water flavours, fine loose-knit chalky textures and fresh linear bell clear acidity. Finishes al dente and crisp with sinuous nectarine, grilled nut, vanilla/pastry notes. A gentle style with lovely complexity and tension. Drink: Now-2028."  Andrew Caillard MW, The Vintage Journal - 96 points (Tasted 2021)


Top 100 Wines of 2015 - Wine Spectator 
Halliday Wine Companion Best Chardonnay of 2017
Special Value Wine – Halliday Wine Companion  ★ 

The winery

Leeuwin Estate

In 1969, Denis and Tricia Horgan purchased a farm and plumbing business in Margaret River that they would eventually transform into Leeuwin Estate, one of Australia's most iconic wineries. At the time they had little interest in wine or plumbing (they sold the business), but in 1972 they met legendary Napa Valley winemaker, Robert Mondavi, who wanted to purchase their farm to plant vineyards. The farm was not for sale, but with Mondavi acting as consultant and mentor, they planted vineyards with the dream of becoming a world-class producer of premium wine.

A nursery was planted in 1974, the vineyards were planted over a five-year period from 1975 and Leeuwin released its first commercial vintage in 1979. The Leeuwin Estate vineyards are planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, but it is the Chardonnay and to a lesser extent the Cabernet that are the stars of the portfolio. Langton's classifies Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay as 'Exceptional' and one of the Heritage Five which celebrates Australia's most iconic, exceptional and ground-breaking wines - the other four are Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace, Mount Mary Quintet and Wendouree Shiraz.

Leeuwin Estate releases its wines under three labels, the Art Series, Prelude Vineyards and Siblings. The Art Series range was created in 1980 and features Australian artwork on the labels.

Denis and Tricia Horgan continue their involvement in Leeuwin Estate, but today it is their two eldest children, son Justin Horgan and daughter Simone Furlong, who run the business as joint chief executives. 

"I fell into the wine industry because Mondavi wanted to buy the land; I thank God that we didn't sell."  Denis Horgan

Leeuwin Estate Winery and the Margaret River Sub Regions
Leeuwin Estate Winery and the Margaret River Sub Regions

Art series labels

Art series Label

The Art Series range was created in 1980 and features Australian artwork on the labels.

"I had developed an interest in Australian art in the early days. During a trip to Europe I was invited to meet Baroness Philippine de Rothschild at the Chateau Mouton-Rothschild wine estate in Bordeaux. The winemaker showed me around the winery and art gallery before having lunch with the Baroness.

I was so impressed with the way art had been integrated into the business that I asked Baroness Philippine if she would mind if we used Australian Artwork on our labels. She thought that was a great idea and said, "Go ahead".

So we created the 'Art Series' range in 1980 to define our most opulent and age-worthy wines from each vintage.  The first label carried a painting of our region's famous 'Caves Road' by Robert Juniper. We now have over 150 paintings from Australia's leading contemporary artists in our collection. We display the original artworks in the winery art gallery."  Denis Horgan

The collection now comprises over 150 paintings and features artworks from artists including John Olsen, Arthur Boyd, Sir Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees, Albert Tucker, Fred Williams, Robert Juniper, Clifton Pugh and Imants Tillers. The only work not part of the Estate's own collection is Sir Arthur Streeton's Golden Summer, which was kindly offered by its then owner for use on a special Museum Release of the 1987 Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon before moving to its new home at the National Gallery.

Many of the paintings and sculptures were specifically commissioned. Others were discovered in exhibitions around Australia and the artists approached for copyright permission to be reproduced as part of the label series. The first painting commissioned was of Caves Road by Robert Juniper for the 1980 Art Series Chardonnay. John Olsen was approached to paint the first artwork to be used on the Art Series Riesling. He responded with the creation of four works entitled “Frogs in Riesling”. These paintings were so irresistible that the decision was made to purchase all four and all have been used, in a random pattern, on Art Series Riesling labels ever since. This makes the Riesling unique, as for the labels of all other wines, a new work is commissioned each year.

Art Series Labels - Frogs in Riesling

Sir Sidney Nolan, when approached at the beginning of the series, advised he was not a graphic artist and did not paint for wine labels. He was also a red wine buff and was sent two unlabelled bottles of the 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon – one of Leeuwin's best vintages. He responded that for this wine he would happily provide a painting. This resulted in his Dolphin Rock appearing on the label.

With the high calibre of the artists consenting to appear on the labels, it is no longer a challenge convincing leading artists to be part of this collection. Eventually, as the collection builds, it is hoped to tour it in its own right. Some works have been lent from time to time but most are on display in the Leeuwin Estate Art Gallery.

The concerts

Leeuwin Estate Concert

"As one of the world's most isolated wine regions, we wanted to be creative in generating reasons for visitors to come and discover Margaret River and our wines.

Our winery overlooks a meadow surrounded by a forest of tall karri trees, creating a beautiful natural amphitheatre. So in 1985 we wrote to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the local Ballet Company and the Opera Company inviting them to consider coming down and doing a concert. The idea of alfresco performances in the bush was extremely novel at the time and we didn't get much interest from any of them.

The then Director of The Festival of Perth, David Blenkinsopp, approached us about that time, asking if we would underwrite the visit to Australia of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, something that somewhat shocked us at the time, huge costs, logistics and all of that – no was the answer, unless they would be prepared to perform in our vineyard.

He went off to London to organise the tour and said he'd talk to the LPO and let me know. To my surprise he came back and said they'd love to perform at Leeuwin, as long as we underwrote the whole Australian tour. Trish thought I was mad, in fact everybody I know thought I was mad, but I said yes!

Funnily enough it was a bit like the wine, we didn't know that much about music and certainly nothing about being concert promoters, however we thought the London Philharmonic Orchestra was a pretty good 'band' to start our concerts with! They really might be worth the risk and we needed to generate a profile for our wine business in a creative way.

So 100+ members of The London Philharmonic Orchestra travelled all the way to Margaret River, we built a stage, did some creative things entertainment wise and all had a fantastic night. The concert was a sell-out; we even had to turn away 500. It made front page news, described as “The most extraordinary concert ever held in Australia."

Our wines were successfully launched nationally at functions held off the back of the concerts throughout Australia – it proved to be a highly successful promotion.

The impact of that first concert guaranteed the future success of our concerts. Whilst it cost a fortune in our underwriting of the total Australian tour it was a highly successful launch pad to promote Leeuwin Estate to all the right people at home and Eastern Australia.

That first Leeuwin Concert was so successful that we continued the relationship with the Festival of Perth for another two years, featuring other international orchestras. Then we thought that we needed to do something different and presented Ray Charles. The new format proved to be even more successful so we decided to stick to that format for a while – 32 years later we have presented an eclectic array of the world's leading musicians at Leeuwin, from Sting to James Taylor, Carole King and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa."  Denis Horgan

Text taken from Milton Wordley's article 'People of Wine', https://winetenquestions.com.au/  

wine region map of australia

Western Australia

Western Australia is home to more than 400 wineries across nine vast and extraordinary wine regions which are almost entirely concentrated in the south-west and great southern land divisions of the State. The regions are Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Great Southern, Peel, Pemberton, Manjimup, Margaret River and Swan District.

The oldest region is the Swan Valley, the best known both nationally and internationally is Margaret River and the largest is Great Southern. The Great Southern region is further divided into the five subregions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup.

The history of wine production in Western Australia dates back to 1840 with the establishment of Sandalford in the Swan Valley region. The recognition of the fine wine possibilities started to be realised after the establishment of the Margaret River Region in 1967, which has become renowned for its high quality Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The other regions produce a diverse range of regionally distinct wines, from stunning Rieslings and evocative Shiraz, to a range of unique Cabernet Sauvignon blends.