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2020 Now finished: PRELUDE CHARDONNAY, Leeuwin Estate. Margaret River, Western Australia

Bin:  223

Alcohol percentage:  14%

Vegan

Area:

Margaret River is Western Australia’s best known region, for good reason – the mild maritime climate produces elegant wines with natural freshness. Since the 1980s it has been the leading light for the move towards finesse and balance in Australian wine, away from the brash and heavy stereotype.

Producer:

Denis and Tricia Hogan converted a cattle farm to a wine estate in the 1970s, the first vintage being 1979. They have been the leading light in the area ever since, with the Art Series Chardonnay always flying the flag as the leading example of the variety in the whole country.

Prelude is the next tier down from Art Series – less concentrated and serious, approachable for drinking when young (but still capable of ageing for 10 years; indeed this wine I always find better after decanting).

The estate is now run by the next generation – and Simone Hogan-Furlong came to the Old Bridge in October 2022 to show us (and our customers) the whole range. It was a very impressive tasting!

Old Bridge rating:

The unique and consistent style of Leeuwin Chardonnay is often put down to the predominance of the “gin-gin” clone of the grape and its tendency to develop millerandage (also called “hen and chicken”) where bunches combine grapes that are fully ripe and others that are tiny, barely formed. This can be a disaster for some varieties in some areas, but for Chardonnay in Margaret River it results in an amazing balance of richness and acidity. That balance is  bolstered by the wine not going through malolactic fermentation, but all being fermented in French oak, with 40% new wood each year. Leeuwin have never sought to produce the ‘reductive’, gun-flint, lean styles that became trendy in the last 15 years.

£33.00

£31.35 per bottle in a mixed case of 6 bottles
£29.70 per bottle in a mixed case of 12 bottles

Out of stock