In very autumn catalogue, we introduce the new vintage releases in Japan of Leeuwin Estate’s flagship wines, the Art Series Chardonnay and Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon. This year’s releases are the 2017 Chardonnay and 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon. We spoke with Tim Lovett, the third-generation Senior Winemaker at Leeuwin, about recent developments in these two wines and the Estate at Margaret River.◆ Are wine producers busy in winter?Village Cellars(VC)―― Thanks for taking time in your busy schedule... Or rather, are you busy this time of year, it’s winter in Australia isn’t it?Tim―― Are we busy?? (laughs) Right now we’re bottling the Siblings Sauvignon Blanc 2021, followed by the Art Series Riesling 2021, Classic Dry White 2021 and the Art Series Chardonnay 2020. Pruning is happening in the vineyards, and we are also planting up a new 15ha vineyard with Cabernet, Chardonnay and Shiraz. So, even though the vines are resting, our staff is very busy.VC―― We’ve heard that there are lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne again (as of August 2021). Are there lockdowns in Margaret River too?Tim―― Fortunately, cases of corona infection in Western Australia are low because we are isolated here, so no lockdown or isolation bubbles here, even though movement from the other states is restricted. Even if we are locked down we can continue working, as Australia has designated the wine industry an essential service.◆ Vineyard management that makes the best use of the blessed environmentTim―― Located about 350km southwest of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, the Margaret River growing region is surrounded by the sea, so our cool and warm vintages aren’t extreme. We’re blessed with mild and stable environment, which allows us to pick the fruit when it develops the characters we are looking for, although that requires proactive vineyard management. A great wine is born from the vineyard, not made in the winery.CODE 11441Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2017 (Screw Cap)RRP¥10,500Varietal: Chardonnay 100%Alc. 13.6%99pts Halliday Wine Companion 2021Title: Veiled Spectrum VArtist: John YoungThe fruit for Art Series Chardonnay mainly comes two vineyards, Block 20 and Block 22, both planted in the Gingin clone. This clone produces ‘Hen and Chicken’ berries, where both small and large berries ripen on the same bunch. The large berries display fruit flavours, and the smaller berries provides the good acid structure. This clone needs to be at optimum ripeness to shine. 2017 growing season was cooler than usual, with a lot of rain in winter and spring, so leaves were thinned early to enhance fruit exposure to sunlight. As a result, although the harvest was about three weeks later than normal, the harvested fruit achieved elegant and rich with characters of cut-lime, pear, and grapefruit. Art Series is always hand-harvested , cold-soaked, pressed, barrel-fermented, and barrel-aged in 100% new French oak for 11 months. For 2017, the ratio of whole bunch pressing was adjusted, to achieve the level of natural solids (pericarp and skin flesh) in the juice. As well as pear and lime characteristics, the 2017 shows aromas of oyster shells, lightly toasted almonds and nutmeg.CODE 11440Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Screw Cap)RRP¥7,500Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Malbec 1%Alc. 13.4%97pts Halliday Wine Companion 2021Title: Where's the gift shop?Artist: Tony Coleing & Chloe WatsonCabernet Sauvignon is very faithful to growing conditions, partly due to the influence of the natural methoxypyrazine chemical compounds* contained in the grapes. Harvesting of the fruits is timed by the ripeness of the tannins, resulting in more aroma expression in cooler years and more fruitiness and structure in warmer years. As a result, the balance between these two elements and their expression changes with the weather during the growing season. 2016 was warmer than 2015, so the 2016 has an elegant aroma, strong acidity and fruit presence, while the 2015 shows fragrant spices and herbs that brighten the fruit. The carefully hand-picked fruit are fermented to retain the characteristics it developed in the vineyard, and fermented and aged in the finest French oak barrels** from Bordeaux for the total of 22 months. The powerful black and blue fruits, aromas of cacao, coffee beans and anise, and powdery tannins are delicious. A substance responsible for pepper and herb aromas, it is abundant in grapes grown in cool climates. Making the 22mm thick French oak barrels used in the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon requires very high quality oak.* A substance responsible for pepper and herb aromas, it is abundant in grapes grown in cool climates. ** Making the 22mm thick French oak barrels used in the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon requires very high quality oak.