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Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River

by Tom Cannavan, 01/07

Western Australia, with its capital city of Perth, lies around 1,500 miles west of the famous wine growing regions of South Australia like the Coonawarra, Barossa or Clare valleys. This largely dessert state has a fairly long tradition of making strong red and fortified wines in the small area around Perth, but it is only in the last few decades that fine table wines have started to emerge, thanks largely to new plantings in cooler coastal areas.

Western Australia may only be responsible for around 4% of Australia's wine grape crush, but remarkably it produces closer to 20% of the country's premium wines. Quality is the keyword of Western Australia with producers like Cape Mentelle and Howard Park having established global reputations. Daddy of them all, arguably, is Leeuwin Estate based in the Margaret River sub-region. Established in 1974 by Denis and Patricia Horgan, who are still at the helm today, Leeuwin has carved an enviable name for its extremely fine varietal wines.

Top of the range is the 'Art Series', with an outstanding Chardonnay and superb Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. The 'Prelude' range is lower priced but still offers handmade wines of very high quality and capable of cellaring, whilst the most recent 'Siblings' range (not yet in the UK) features inexpensive, 'ready to drink' wines.

This small tasting of three white wines from the Leeuwin portfolio proves this is an absolutely superb estate, producing intelligent, beautifully structured wines. All wines are available from their UK importer Domaine Direct, and from specialist wine merchants.

For all stockists of Leeuwin Estate wines, see wine-searcher.com.

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