Classic with a good whack of stylish French oak on the nose. Juicy and full-flavoured stone fruit; limey acidity adds strength and balance. Focused, linear and stony, with an almost saline finish. (panel)
Death, taxes and the quality of Leeuwin Estate chardonnay. This may 'only' be the Prelude version but its quality is as clear as a bright blue sky. Pure stone fruit, sweet oak, pear and a cleansing flush of citrus through the finish. It builds, it satisfies and it refreshes. Elegance and power in one.
Leeuwin’s Prelude Chardonnay sees 40 percent new French oak, in contrast to its Art Series line, aged entirely in new barrels. By turning down the intensity, winemaker Phil Hutchison has created a gracious chardonnay that shows the Stevens Road vineyard in a gentle light. That gentleness extends to its texture, supple and silken, and to the pale scents of ginger and yellow flowers. The wine feels substantial, with intensity to its apple and baked-pear flavors—“it vibrates on my palate,” one taster said. All the elements of the wine are balanced, so it would probably age; the intention, however, is to present a wine to drink on release, and there’s little reason to resist its seductive beauty.
In this vintage of Prelude, the vineyards' proximity to ocean couldn't be more apparent. Sea spray, shells and all manner of beachfront smells are at the fore, backed by grapefruit, white spice and gunflint. The palate is salty and slippery. It's a little austere, the acidity on the lean side and the oak a touch apparent, but pair this with a wide array of dishes, particularly seafood, and it should come alive. (CP)
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