Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2008
Still pale quartz-green; the finesse of Art Series Chardonnay when it is young is every bit as enjoyable as is the complexity it gains after six or seven years in bottle (under screwcap), its future still assured. We know that good bottles from the mid-1980s are still glorious, although most are now a shadow of their former selves. What we don't really know is how long the wines such as this live and flourish under screwcap.
The 2008 Chardonnay Art Series shows signs of maturing fruit and a nice meatiness, with marmite and earth hints over core of apple tart and beeswax, as well as honeyed toast. Medium-bodied and elegant in the mature mouth, it appears to have "peaked" but should still hold-up over the next few years.
Light, bright yellow. Fresh citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by white flowers, iodine, toasty lees and butter. Smoky, penetrating orange and pear flavors are complemented by deeper suggestions of honey and sweet butter, with a firm mineral element adding spine. Finishes with very good breadth and length, the smoke and iodine notes repeating. This wine has a great track record for aging, as a recent bottle of 2001 showed; it was spicy, intensely floral and deep in orchard fruit flavors, with only a hint of the nuttiness that I expect in decade-old chardonnay. It has years of life ahead of it.