2012 Margaret River Chardonnay
Australia: Margaret River
We’ve never experienced anything like today’s exquisite, highly sought-after, 97 point wine, the nearly perfect Leeuwin Estate 2012 Margaret River Chardonnay.
This 100% new French oak aged wine is a buttery, flavor-packed, aroma laden gem of a wine that our entire tasting panel went bonkers over.
Don’t miss it.
This wine is buttery smooth, sure, but it is the aromatic profile and the gorgeous flavors that really captivated us here at Wine Spies HQ. It has captivated the wine press, too, garnering nearly a dozen scores, ranging from 92 points, all the way up to 97 points.
See below for a handful of the rave reviews that this wine has collected. James Halliday would drink it by the bucketload if he could! We would, too. This wine is superb.
Wondrously original and very aromatic, with grilled peach, white peach, pear, orange blossom, hickory, toasted pecan, brioche, lemongrass and subtle spice.
A silky smooth entry ushers in a cascade of flavors, with pear, lemongrass, white peach, grilled pear, pineapple, honeysuckle flower, darkly toasted oak and ultra subtle mixed spice.
Margaret River is a major wine region in southwest Western Australia, with more than 12,000 acres under vine and 215 wineries as or 2012. This region is made up mostly of boutique size wine producer with smaller producers crushing just 3 tons of grapes per year, while the largest crush upwards of 7,000 tons.
The climate of Margaret River has a stronger maritime influence than any other major Australian region. It also has the most Mediterranean climate in terms of rainfall. The climate there is very similar to the Bordeaux region of France, making it a wonderful place to grow wine grapes.
The region produces just three percent of total Australian grape production and more than 20 percent of Australia’s most premium wines. The chief grape varieties are split between red and white, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin blanc and Verdelho among the most prevalent.
We offer you this very luxurious wine with our very fullest recommendation. We know that you’ll fall in love with it, just as we have…
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
97 points - James Halliday, Wine Home Companion 2016 - “If price wasn’t a concern we’d all just want to drink bucket loads of this. It’s all class and quality but the drinkability factor is extremely high. It’s like sitting with someone expert in the art of conversation; it makes you laugh and cry and lean in closer. Fruit, oak, texture, acidity, length: a hand full of aces, neatly arranged, trim and terrific.”
97 points - Jane Faulkner Halliday Wine Companion - “For lovers of chardonnay, Leeuwin Estate needs no introduction; it’s a trailblazer. Leeuwin Estate’s ‘12 chardonnay is one of the finest to date - more restrained style yet loads of flavor, complexity & depth. Compact with stone fruit, figs and citrus, fuller-bodied lots of layers and the perfect amalgamation of leesy characters, ripe fruit and acidity. A joy to drink. “_
97 points - Ray Jordan, The West Weekend, 21 March 2015 - “From the first sniff of the marvelous mix of nougat and grapefruit, with subtle infusions of white peach, you just know this is something special. It is a more fruit-driven wine than the 2011, with a beautifully integrated palate striking such a perfect balance of oak and fruit. It’s finer, with an effortlessness about it, but with a depth and power that extends through to the very long finish. This is a wine that will live for many years.”
96 points - Philip Rich, Decanter Magazine - “Honeyed melon and butter aromas. Big and bold with refined acidity and a creamy texture. Voluptuous, complex, pure. Great to see Margaret River’s most recognized Chardonnay in such good form. This has all the power one associates with Leeuwin - with the 100% new oak being totally absorbed by the fruit - while the palate is textured, balanced and extremely long.”
96 points - Huon Hooke - “Light yellow hue and a remarkably subtle, discreet (for Leeuwin) bouquet, with cashew and almond, lemon, grapefruit and spice, all very subtle, and a trace of honey. It’s much more reserved than some vintages of this wine. Lovely finesse, line and length. A terrific wine which will only get better over the next few years. The fragrance haunts the empty glass.”
95 points - James Suckling, 9 February 2016 - “A wine with amazing richness and depth. So much apple pie character yet minerally underneath. Full body, so much length. Gorgeous. Drink now.”
94 Points - Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, June 2016 - “Leeuwin’s Chardonnay continues to be a standard-bearer for Margaret River and all of Australia. The 2012 Art Series is subtly toasty on the nose, blossoming with time into full-on creme brulee aromas, while the palate offers creamy- textured notions of tropical fruit and custard. The long finish reverberates with fruit, suggesting plenty of aging potential, up to 10 or 12 years.”
94 Points - Josh Raynolds, Vinous, March 2016 - “Light, bright yellow. Musky pear skin and honeydew on the nose, with jasmine, ginger, vanilla and smoky mineral nuances adding complexity. Juicy, seamless and sharply focused, offering concentrated citrus and orchard fruit flavors that flesh out and become spicier with aeration.
The mineral and floral qualities come back strong on the strikingly persistent, seamless finish. There’s no way I’d have guessed that this wine was aged in all new oak.”
94 Points - Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, Top 100 2015 - “Amazingly focused, layered and expressive, with pear, lime, guava and floral flavors that meld harmoniously and linger on the creamy finish. Deftly pulls all the elements together into a cohesive whole, lingering effectively and precisely. Drink now through 2022.”
94+ points - Gary Walsh, Winefront - “I reckon I’ve tasted every vintage of Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay on release since 1992, so this brings me up to 21 vintages. I’m an adult now. I like this a little more than the 2011.
Hazelnut, pear, melon, toast and clove spiced wood. Full bodied, toasty savory wood plays a leading role in the flavor profile, though of course there’s the typical Leeuwin fruit power to go with it. Pear and lime in the mix, silky honeyed texture, then a little crunch of tannin on the finish.
_Great length. Has complexity already as a young wine, but really needs a few years to settle down and mesh, at which point it will almost certainly rate a little higher.”
92+ points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown , Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - “The 2012 Chardonnay Art Series shows evolving toast and marzipan notes over a core of ripe apricots, candied ginger and butterscotch. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth with a satiny texture, the palate possesses a wonderful concentration of stone fruit and spice flavors with plenty of racy freshness and a good long finish.
Pale straw yellow with perfect clarity through and through. After swirling this wine, watch as round after round of pencil-thin legs move slowly down the glass wall, branching once or twice as they move.
Grilled peach, white peach, pear, orange blossom, hickory, toasted pecan, brioche, lemongrass and subtle spice.
Pear, lemongrass, white peach, grilled pear, pineapple, honeysuckle flower, darkly toasted oak and ultra subtle mixed spice.
Elegant, silky smooth and super long, with fresh fruit flavors that very gradually fade away.
You’ll want to enjoy a bottle of this all by itself, but when you want something to pair it with, we recommend grilled fish, or a grilled ham & cheese sandwich with butter pickle slices.
What the Winery Says
- Australia, Margaret River
- new French oak