Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wine tasting with Denis Horgan of Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, Australia

I enjoyed a recent wine tasting with Denis Horgan (right), owner of Leeuwin Estate of Margaret River, Australia. Margaret River is in the southwestern section of Australia, a few hours south of Perth. It sports a cooler climate than the acclaimed southeastern Australia shiraz territories of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

During the tasting and dinner,we enjoyed a sampling of Leeuwin Estate wines, from the lower end Sibling series (specifically, we tried the Siblings Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, 2005), to the benchmark Art Series.

As might be expected, the Leewin Estate Art Series Chardonnay, 2004, was the show-stealer, preferred by most everyone in our group. It is a truly outstanding wine - though it comes at a premium price.

In discussion with Denis Horgan, I was interested to find out whether Leeuwin Estate, given its cooler climate, had ever had much success with pinot noir - a varietal not widely successful around Australia. He told me they had tried pinot noir for quite awhile in the region, but were never full satisfied with the results. The juice simply never generated the quality they sought for their wines. So pinot noir juice becomes part of the Leeuwin Estate Brut - we tried the Leeuwin Estate Brut 2003 vintage. It was satisfactory, but not outstanding.

Denis explained that his vision had always been to focus on wines that ranked among the best in the world. And since the pinot noir never lived up to that standard, it has not become part of the portfolio.

We tried several other Leeuwin Estate wines from among current and recent releases. The Art Series Riesling 2005 rated three plus stars out of five, making it an excellent value wine. Probably the best value of the Leeuwin line. Good for aging too.

The Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 was an attractive wine, rating three stars plus, but it sells at two or three times the price of the comparably-rated riesling.

No comments:

Post a Comment