Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2017 1500ml
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2017 (1500ml)

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2017 (1500ml)

Sale price$500.00
Wallcliffe, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Style: White Wine

Variety: Chardonnay

Closure: Screwcap

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Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2017 (1500ml)

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Leeuwin Estate

Country: Australia

Region: Margaret River

Vintage: 2017

Critic Score: 99

Alcohol: 13.5%

Size: 1500 ml

Drink by: 2050

A power-packed wine, tightly-packaged, latent like an unexploded bomb! The sheer power of the fruit is awesome - Huon Hooke

Halliday Wine Companion Best Chardonnay of 2021 
James Suckling Top 100 Wines of Australia 2020

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 favorably 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

"This achieves another step up the quality ladder for Leeuwin Estate, seemingly impossible. There's been no change in the vinification, nor in the vineyard. The change is an increase in the intensity of the flavours, and hence their length and aftertaste. It's an extraordinary wine, among the greatest of Burgundy (and elsewhere in the world). Whatever you expect from its future development will be delivered."  James Halliday

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. 

"The purity on the nose is unmistakable; defined by a fruit spectrum of Japanese pear, Tahitian lime and Meyer lemon. Floral notes combine with subtle spice, highlighted by frangipani, chamomile, cinnamon and cardamom. Delicate notes of cashew, almonds, sesame and graphite are threaded in the background.       

A clear expression of primary fruit unfolds into a delicate, contoured and layered mid-palate, neatly laced with a fine acid structure. Again, the hallmark fruits of pear and lime are present, with secondary notes of oyster shell, lightly toasted almonds and nutmeg. Presence, poise and enviable length combine in symmetry, creating an articulating line and dimension.”  Leeuwin Estate


Leeuwin Estate
 The Leeuwin Estate story

Expert reviews

"This achieves another step up the quality ladder for Leeuwin Estate, seemingly impossible. There's been no change in the vinification, nor in the vineyard. The change is an increase in the intensity of the flavours, and hence their length and aftertaste. It's an extraordinary wine, among the greatest of Burgundy (and elsewhere in the world). Whatever you expect from its future development will be delivered. Alcohol: 13.5%; Drink to 2032."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021 - 99 points and Chardonnay Varietal Winner 2021 and Special Value Wine  

"Light yellow, a very youthful colour. The bouquet has substantial oak as well as some tropical fruit, cashew nut and fluffy yeast aromas. The palate is very intense and vibrant, with nervy acidity and richness to match, the aftertaste lingering on and on. A power-packed wine that is compact and tightly-packaged, latent like an unexploded bomb! Intense and sustained grapefruit and lemon aftertaste. An impressive, high-impact chardonnay of great potential. The sheer power of the fruit is awesome. Drink: 2020 to 2035."  Huon Hooke, The Real Review - 98 Points and No.1 2017 Margaret River Chardonnay

"A wine of pristine qualities showing a minerally, talcy acid purity that cuts deep into the hallmark power and intensity. There's a little phenolic grip on the back palate. It's very much a product of the cooler 2017 vintage and is a wine that really needs a lot more time to reveal its best. I love the slightly graphite edge which contributes to its shape and lancing length."  Ray Jordan, The West Weekend - 98 points

"Sometimes you just have to lean back and marvel. The art of Margaret River chardonnay. This is it. You don't just drink a wine like this, you set it in your mind as a benchmark. It's a wine built on power, texture and length, centre-half forward, centre-half back and ruck, with acidity roving through and fragrance cheering loud. That seduction up front, that pure fresh peach, that huge energetic push through the back half. Blimey Charlie the crushed fennel characters here are full on. It's the frisky side of luxury. It's damn good. Alcohol: 13.5%; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2030+."  Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front - 97 points

"Such complexity and resolve make for a very attractive nose with peaches, grapefruit, cedary oak spice, gunflint and wet stones. The palate has a plush, smoothly resolved texture with a rich, creamy texture and all-encompassing, ripe stone-fruit flavors, ahead of a very long, smooth finish. Grilled-hazelnut and apricot-kernel flavors to close. Great to drink now, but certainly a decade of cellaring in the tank, too. Screw cap."  James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com – 96 points and Top 100 Wines of Australia 2020

"Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of white peach, pear, honeydew melon and Meyer lemon, along with a bright floral overtone. Juicy and densely packed, conveying a suave blend of richness and vivacity to the mineral-drenched citrus and orchard fruit and floral flavors. Takes on smoky lees, sweet butter and iodine notes with air and shows superb clarity on the strikingly long finish, which echoes the mineral and floral notes."  Josh Raynolds, Vinous - 96 points

"Opens rich and lush, with grilled pineapple, ripe pear and fleshy apricot flavors. Details of mineral, lime peel and Meyer lemon add a fresh thread of acidity and a sense of precision, finishing with a note of sesame seed."  MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator - 96 points and Highly Recommended

"The long-standing flag bearer for "Margs” chardonnay, this wine from the cooler – and at times challenging – 2017 season, is absolutely one of the best ever released under the Art Series label. The bouquet really sets the scene for what's to come with complex tightly-wound notes of white pear against a background of nectarine and lemon, with new French oak at the back fighting for attention. It would be easy to mistake this as serious white burgundy. It has real power and impact on entry, which flows to serious mid-palate intensity with those pear notes continuing across the wines perfect proportions. A wine of great power and vitality, the finale is oh-so lingering with echoes of almond, lime and lemon. A grand cru white burgundy quality at a fraction of the price, which could be cellared for 15-20+ years, especially in magnum."  Frank Wilden, Business Insider Australia


Top 100 Wines of Australia 2020 - James Suckling
Best Chardonnay of 2021 - Halliday Wine Companion
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.