Leeuwin Estate is an Australian winery and restaurant based in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia.
Leeuwin Estate was established in 1969 by Denis and Tricia Horgan with the assistance of both John and Jenny Horgan ( John and Jenny later went on to found Salitage in Pemberton). The land was previously used as a cattle station and after having been purchased as part of a deal to buy a plumbing business by Denis and John Horgan, the land was converted to vineyards based on the advice of the Western Australian Department of Agriculture.
Robert Mondavi provided significant advice during the planning and setup stages of the estate after contacting the Horgans in 1973 to promote the potential that Margaret River had as a wine region and to look for investment opportunities. Initial plantings consisted of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot noir.
Bob Cartwright was appointed as head winemaker in 1978. In the same year that Cartwright was appointed, the first vintage of wines were made. The vines had reached maturity and could provide enough grapes for commercial production and bottling levels. Cartwright held the position of head winemaker for 28 consecutive vintages until retiring in September 2005.
The current head winemaker is Paul Atwood. He has worked at Leeuwin Estate since 1997, being promoted to head winemaker on Bob Cartwright's retirement in 2005.
The winery is still owned by Denis and Tricia Horgan, with their son Justin working as the company general manager.
Denis Horgan was awarded a Centenary Medal and both he and Tricia Horgan were inducted as Members of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to tourism in Western Australia.
Leeuwin Estate produces around 60,000 cases of wine each vintage and owns 121 acres of vineyards.
The most well known wine produced by Leeuwin Estate is the "Art Series Chardonnay". It has been described by wine critic James Halliday as "Australia's finest example" of Chardonnay and the Langton's Classification of Australian Wine places it at the highest level of "Exceptional". The first vintage of the Art Series Chardonnay was from 1980, with the first vintage of the wine receiving a recommendation as the best Chardonnay in the world by Decanter in 1982, bringing Leeuwin Estate to the attention of the wine world. A large proportion of the grapes used in this wine are from the "Block 20" vineyard, which was noted as one of the "Top 25 Australian Vineyards" by Australian Sommelier Magazine.
As well as the Chardonnay, Leewin Estate produces four other flagship "Art Series" wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Each of the five "Art Series" wines in each vintage has a new painting printed on the label from an Australian artist.
The "Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon" is listed at the "Distinguished" level of the Langton's Classification, being described by Langton's as representative of the "quintessential southern Margaret River style" and by Robert Parker as "one of Australia’s great Bordeaux-styled Cabernets".
A number of lower priced wines are released under the "Prelude" and "Siblings" labels.
Since 2002, Leeuwin Estate has bottled all their wines under screw cap due to cork taint and Premature oxidation problems under cork.
The restaurant at Leeuwin Estate won the award for the Regional Restaurant of the Year in The West Australian Good Food Guide 2012. It was ranked as a two star restaurant in the 2013 edition of the same guide.
Leeuwin Estate hosts an annual series of concerts featuring major Australian and international performers. The first concert was a performance from the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985.
In February 2005, a concert was performed by Sting that attracted 6,000 attendees and raised over $4 million for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
eRobertParker.com #223 Mar 2016 Lisa Perrotti-Brown 93 The 2008 Chardonnay Art Series shows signs of maturing fruit and a nice meatiness, with marmite and earth hints over core of apple tart and beeswax, as well as honeyed toast. Medium-bodied and elegant in the mature mouth, it appears to have "peaked" but should still hold-up over the next few years.
JS: James Suckling
BV: Bidvino Staff
RP: Robert Parker
WS: Wine Spectator
JH: James Halliday
JR: Jancis Robinson
WE: Wine Enthusiast
DM: Decanter Magazine
JD: Jeb Dunnuck
2008 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series
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