Leeuwin Estate Bringing Art and Wine Together
Friday, February 8, 2019 in News
For Leeuwin Estate ‘The Art of Wine’ is more than a slogan. This Margaret River pioneer links the two like no other in Australia, as Adrian Read reports.
The gallery of modern Australian art can be an unexpected highlight of a visit to Margaret River’s spectacular Leeuwin Estate.
Here, the originals of paintings that have adorned the estate’s flagship ‘Art Series’ wines are on permanent display.
With most labels carrying a new work each year, the Horgan family has since 1980 built as extensive a ‘cellar’ of art as they have of wine.
The collection now comprises more than 150 works by artists including John Olsen, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees, Albert Tucker, Fred Williams, Robert Juniper, Clifton Pugh and Imants Tillers.
Canal Street, by Helen Eager, adorns the label of the 2015 Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon.
While winemaker Tim Lovett prefers to stick to what he knows best - making wine - he agrees that both art and wine ‘force you to think’.
‘Wine is not like any other manufactured product’, he says. ‘At every stage we’re making decisions based on the task to translate what we have in the paddock to the glass.
‘We aim to do it holistically, but every day is different, and we have to be proactive, making the adaptations that are necessary each year - no one vintage is the same.
‘We want consistency, but there are so many options, and so many techniques. We need to think not just in terms of weeks and months but in terms of years when you start considering where that wine might end up.
‘It could be said to be like working on a tapestry, with so many threads to be followed, or you could say that all these decisions - all of them with slightly different results - are like the brushstrokes of a painter’.
Our focus today is the 2015 vintage of Leeuwin Estate’s ‘Art Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Langton’s Classified since 2000 and firmly established among Australia’s Cabernet elite.
Lovett says the 2015 will be noted for its purity and elegance, and for the way it combines density and concentration with apparent weightlessness.
The balancing act is down to the contribution of some of Margaret River’s oldest Cabernet vineyards, planted in 1975 and 1976 on sites carefully selected by founder Denis Horgan and his adviser, the late, great Californian wine pioneer Robert Mondavi.
The vines are dry-grown, unirrigated and low-yielding. Over the years they have been forced to push their roots down deep to seek water, producing small crops of small berries, making up for lack of quantity with a combination of intensity and subtlety, plus a graphite-like thread of minerality.
2015 Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2015 is sure to build on the reputation the wine has already established.
Descriptors that have turned up in reviews of recent vintages include ‘powerful yet elegant’, ‘energy and vitality’, ‘silken mouthfeel’, ‘unadorned purity’, ‘concentrated, perfectly-ripened Cabernet fruit embellished with stylish oak’, and so on.
Look for similar praise when the reviews of the 2015 appear.
Buy with confidence now. This wine is a work of art.