Leeuwin Estate

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of indulging in a luxurious long luncheon down at Leeuwin Estate Winery. We were flown down there by Skippers Aviation to a private landing strip with thanks to an extraordinarily generous Employer. After an initial wine tasting and browsing of the Winery’s beautiful art gallery (featuring several pieces from the revered Leeuwin Estate Art Series) we settled into our table for lunch on the veranda overlooking a beautiful panorama of majestic Karri Trees. The restaurant having released their new Summer menu on the same day presented us with course after course of mouth watering and perfectly presented plates.

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The stand out favourite for the entrees was the scallops, cooked to perfection and served on a flavoursome bed of beef brisket along with lightly poached pear and a side of Kimchi. It  would be particularly easy to lose the delicate flavour of the scallop meat among the various elements in this dish. However the chefs at Leeuwin have managed to execute a perfect balance of all flavours, the sweetness of the scallops and pear, the saltiness of the succulent brisket and a delightful sour and spicy kick volunteered by the Kimchi.

For mains I enjoyed a fresh water marron tail and duck dish. The marron was a generous portion flawlessly steamed, served in shell alongside a small serve of duck breast fried in the colonel ‘s secret herbs and spices atop a bed of fresh Asian style salad. Up front I was not 100% convinced on the combination of Kentucky fried duck with steamed marron but was very pleasantly surprised to find that the chefs had yet again succeeded in marrying together some punchy flavours with precision balance. The marron was the star of the dish simple sweet and fresh, balanced by the rich moist duck breast and both tied together nicely by a summery crisp salad, tossed in a salty and sour style dressing.

Among the utterly divine food we enjoyed several bottles of the Wineries finest whites and reds. My top picks for the day lie with the young and light 2012 Art Series Sauvignon Blanc, the rich and luxurious 2005 Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon and finally the refreshingly pleasant 2010 Art Series Chardonnay, I am not typically a Chardonnay drinker (at all!) but Leeuwin estate is touted as being one of the top Chardonnay producers in the region and as such, in safe hands, I found a great deal of pleasure in this drop. Others that receive my high recommendation include the 2010 Art Series Shiraz and the 2012 Art Series Riesling.

Not being an overly skilled sommelier myself here are some quick reference tasting notes of each bottle from the Winemakers and a few from my favourite, James Halliday.

My top 3

2012_art_sb2012 Art Series Sauvignon Blanc

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
Bursting fruits of cut lime and lemon pith combine with lifted floral elements. Beneath lies complex layers of blackcurrant pastilles and subtle anise cinnamon and vanilla.
The palate is bright and bouncy; initially beginning with a gentle textural entry, which is pulled through by a racy citrus acid line. A fruit spectrum of lime, guava and pawpaw is the hallmark of the palate, with a mild savoury mid palate. The finish is long with great carry and balance.

2010 Art Series Chardonnay 2010_art_chardonnay

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
A deceptively complex and incredibly youthful nose that features cut pear, fresh quince and lemon blossom. A savoury line is also evident with sesame brittle, cinnamon stick, rice wafer and hints of cornmeal.
On the palate, woven layers of intense white fleshed fruits, diligent oak handling and effortless texture meet seamlessly and are driven by a mineral saline acid spine. Pears, grapefruit and white nectarine are the key fruits of the palate, which is focused with remarkable length and possesses amazing longevity.

James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2014
95 points.
Pale green-gold; a restrained bouquet offering pure grapefruit and cashew aromas, yet revealing little at this point in time; the palate reveals a swathe of pure fruit, showing a vintage of purity rather than complexity, the latent power is held in check by linear acidity well-handled French oak; long, expansive and absolutely in keeping with the lineage that precedes it.

2006_art_series_cabernet_22005 Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
The wine has a deep garnet colour. Intense varietal Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, plum and liquorice lift from the glass to greet the nose. The elegance of this bouquet is underpinned by the beautifully integrated French oak aromas. The palate is intense, linear and elegant. Blackcurrant and liquorice flavours linger in the mouth to produce an incredibly long finish. The fine backbone of acidity displayed by this wine and the ultra fine tannins suggest a vintage of Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon with great aging potential.

James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2011 Edition
95 points.
A super-elegant and refined wine, with few of the flourishes that many of its regional counterparts exhibit; the fragrant, dark fruits of the bouquet are precisely replayed on the palate with its somber flavours and tannins.

High Commendations

2012 Art Series Riesling2011_Art_Riesling

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
The bouquet shows fragrant and bright notes of lime blossom and cut lemon greet the nose, and are met with underlying hints of kaffir lime leaf and subtle spice.
The palate is taut and focused offering lively lemon curd, lime pith and floral notes. Racy acidity defines the palate and provides great drive. These elements are woven together with a mineral finish.

James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2014
90 points.
Pale colour; ripe Meyer lemons are evident on the bouquet with a touch of coriander and straw; the palate is fleshy, generous and forward, and whilst the finish is dry and chalky, will offer its best drinking in its youth.

2010_Art_Shiraz2010 Art Series Shiraz

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
Dark cherry with a crimson hue.
Fragrant and concentrated, the nose is defined by a dark fruit spectrum of forest fruits, cherries and mulberries in the forefront, with complementary layers of anise, cloves and savoury oak in the background. Violets, mocha notes, toasted brulee and hints of fresh camphor provides further substance to this classical and complex Shiraz.
A bright and lively entry features blood plums, mulberries and dark chocolate. The palate shows great intensity, whilst displaying elegance and sophistication. A textured and layered mid palate leads to structural chalky tannins, with a fine yet balanced natural acid line.

James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion, 2014
94 points.
Bright, clear crimson-purple; a vibrantly fresh wine reflecting the cooler climate of the southern parts of Margaret River; red berry and cherry fruit is at the core of the bouquet and medium-bodied palate of an elegant and delicious wine.

All together a thoroughly enjoyable and indulgent day and a must visit for anyone calling through the Margaret River Wine Region.

Until next time, Fiona.

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