Leeuwin Estate in Focus: Spring 2022

Leeuwin Estate in Focus: Spring 2022

Barry Weinman: 13th October 2022

Over the last few years, the Margaret River region has seen more climatic variation than we have become used to. 2017, 2019 and 2021 were all unusually cool, with 2021 in particular also having to deal with untimely rain events.

But these variations need to be taken in context. Even a “lesser” year can produce excellent wines, but it takes a lot more care and attention in the vineyards and the winery to produce the best results.

At Leeuwin for example, yields are sacrificed in the pursuit of quality. In the vineyard, this includes both canopy management to increase exposure to light and air, as well as green harvesting (removing some of the bunches from the vine when they are still maturing, to allow the vine to put all its efforts into the remaining bunches).

The end result for Leeuwin is consistently superb wines, which allow you to taste the seasonal differences, with little or no impact on the quality and enjoyment of the wines. This is probably most apparent in the chardonnays where, even in the cooler years, a generosity of fruit is retained, which not all achieve.

Given the quality on show, the whole range represents very good value, especially the Art Series Shiraz and the Prelude wines.

The fruit destined for the wines in the Prelude range are identified in the vineyard, and treated separately in the winery. Yet the care taken and attention to detail is evident in the final product.

I have been a huge fan of Leeuwin Estate for a long time now, and the current range of wines only serve to reinforce why the winery has such a good reputation.


Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Riesling – 2022. This is very fresh and aromatic, with pretty floral fruit and lemony citrus notes the defining features. There is excellent palate weight and texture, aided by the slightest touch of residual sugar (2gms/l). The latter is completely imperceptible, but does add some gentle viscosity and greatly aids balance. Delicious now, but sure to age well. 94pts – $25.

Leeuwin Estate – Prelude – Chardonnay – 2021. Lovely fruit on show, with a nose that is pristine and perfumed, but it is on the palate that the cooler vintage notes become apparent. Here, grapefruit is a key feature, as is the silky mouthfeel and fresh, though very fine acidity. With air, the fruit builds, making for a great drinking wine! 94pts – $40.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Chardonnay – 2019. From another cooler year, but this counts for nought when you taste the wine. The power and depth of the fruit is stunning, supported by texturing, high quality oak. Whilst the fruit is still relatively closed, the almond meal/nutty notes abound. The length and persistence of fruit flavours is something to behold. Will be even better in 5 years time. Gingin clone, 100% new oak for 11 months with regular battonage. 96pts – $138.

Leeuwin Estate – Prelude – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. This reminds me of decent Bordeaux given that the texture and mouthfeel are the main feature straight out of the bottle. With air, the pretty fruit opens, and there is impressive depth and balance for a wine at this price point. The finish is structured, but supple enough to offer immediate drinking pleasure. The fruit for this wine comes from vineyards in the Yallingup subdistrict and includes 2% Malbec. A lot of vineyard work was required to get the fruit ripe (e.g. green harvest) given the cooler year, and the results are impressive. 93pts – $32.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This has gorgeous blue berry fruit, but the structure is the defining feature. Intense, powerful, textured and chewy, yet this somehow remains supple and elegant, with near seamless palate transition. The fruit for this wine comes from the Block 8 vineyard adjacent to the winery. It spent 23 months in (50% new) oak and includes 3% malbec.” 96+pts – $89.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Shiraz – 2019. Pretty, pretty red berry fruit just leaps from the glass, supported by spice notes and white pepper, reflecting the cooler vintage. Excellent length leads to a finish that is silky, supple, elegant and long. This has parallels with fine pinot, beautifully reflecting the vintage conditions. Such a bargain! (Aged in 600 litre oak vats, 33% new). 95pts – $42.