To all Best Winers,
Does Chardonnay have to be from California or France in order for it to be great? Obviously, one would think the answer is no, based on the fact that the world is a very big place and Chardonnay can grow just about anywhere. But you’d be shocked how hard it is to convince somebody that someplace like Australia can make some of the world’s greatest examples.
Our mission today is to convince you that it may not only be advisable for you to add some Aussie Chard to your cellar, but perhaps move it a few notches up your personal Chardonnay roster in the process!
To do this we’re going to cheat a little bit and head straight to the top and showcase Australian Chardonnay’s greatest producer. Leeuwin Estate has been producing world class Chardonnay for a few decades from the Margaret River region, along Australia’s western coast. Prior to ten years ago or so the wines never made it to the states due to such insane demand back in their native OZ.
However, when the wines did hit the US, BOOM! FIREWORKS! The American wine press went crazy, throwing mid-90’s like a big league pitcher, basically putting Leeuwin on the same lofty pedestal as the finest White Burgundies and California Chardonnays. Think Kistler, Peter Michael, Marcassin and such and you’ll get a good idea of what we’re talking about.
Still, there is a reticence. Still, there is a refusal by many to accept the fact that OZ can be ‘all that’ when it comes to America’s favorite white wine.
So were going to make it easier for you to ‘take the plunge’.
For a limited time we have been allowed to offer a positively smokin’ price on the Leeuwin Estate 2011 Prelude Chardonnay, the junior version of their vaunted Art Series Chardonnay, chosen from select blocks, but made with the same care and attention to detail as the Art Series Chard. Aged and fermented in 40% new oak, though the wine isn’t the least bit oaky, it baffles the palate with its striking combo of lemon, lime, rocks and stone fruits. Complete in every way, it is now one of the white wine world’s great bargains at its temporary $19.88 price.
And, of course, there’s the Art Series Chardonnay. The current 2009 vintage (it is always held back for release until the wine is ready to go) as usual, scored a whopping 96 points from Wine Spectator, making it the second highest scoring Chardonnay in the world from 2009 (yes, one wine did get ‘97’ but you can’t get it…). Just for curiosity’s sake if nothing else, that little bit of info has to be getting your gears going.
On top of that, the wine is awesome, and I mean super-awesome, the estate’s Block 20, planted by proprietor Denis Horgan over 30 years ago, providing the punch. The wine dazzles with its perfect, seamless, scintillating combination of citrus, white fruits, stones and toast, all effortlessly woven together with a quiet yet stern acidity still present despite the wine’s richness. The finish lasts forever, the wine pretty much can as well, as examples up to 20 years old are still showing ‘spot-on’. At its new $69.88 price (usually $90 retail) it is also a deal, as good as or better than many a Grand Cru Burgundy.
Kyle Meyer and Tristen Beamon, Proprietors, BestWinesOnline.com