Leeuwin Estate Experience, Margaret River
We are blessed to have one of the world’s best boutique wine regions within a few hours drive of members’ main place of residence in Perth, Western Australia. The Margaret River region has more awards for its wines than any other region in Australia despite only providing 2% of its volume. The region was established just 50 years ago and one of the founding vineyards was Leeuwin Estate, renowned for its’ annual concert having featured many of the world’s greatest artistes.
22 members and guests made the journey for the weekend for an experience designed and specially tailored for La Chaine. The food was exquisite, the wines selected were exceptional and the weather was benign. The Estate’s trademark Kookaburra birds were also on song.
Saturday evening comprised a 5 course Degustation Dinner starting with canapes accompanied by 2014 Leeuwin Estate Brut sparkling wine. The menu had been prepared by chef Dan who enthusiastically explained his use of local produce as far as possible.
We were graciously given two wines with each course. The first wine of each course was the current release of Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series together with a ‘museum’ release of the same wine from an earlier vintage. This was a special and wonderful opportunity to taste the contrast of age and preparation. Each Art Series wine is dedicated to a particular work of art which has been specifically chosen each year for each variety, the art work itself then forms the presentation on the label.
Our first course was a light Geraldton Kingfish prepared with black bean, ginger and spring onion accompanied by the 2017 Art Series Riesling. To tempt our palettes the corresponding museum release was the 2009 vintage.
A second fish dish of delicate King Salmon par grilled to perfection with cucumber, ajo blanco and dill was presented with the 2015 Art Series Chardonnay and the delightful 2009 vintage to provide an older sibling comparison. The Chardonnay variety from Leeuwin is considered one of the best in Australia.
Local Margaret River Wagyu majestically prepared with mustard seeds and a smoked croquette was our main course paired royally with the 2014 Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon together with the 2011 vintage.
A most exceptional selection of cheeses followed to complete a fascinating temptation of wines presented during the evening. To complete the night the 2015 Art Series Shiraz took our satisfaction to new heights especially when alongside the 2011 vintage that was also presented.
After a night’s sleep and the after effects of some Port acquired at Palmer’s Vineyard, we awoke ready for a wine tour and wine tasting back at Leeuwin Estate. The tour showed us the wine making process, facilities and mechanisms which are always entertaining.
We were fortunately accompanied on Sunday by Leeuwin Estate owner and long-term Chaine member Denis Horgan and his wife Tricia. Denis once again expounded on the region’s history and its unsurpassed array of accolades and awards. We were also able to tour the recently refurbished Art Gallery containing all the original artworks that support the Art Series wines. It has to be one of the most impressive private collections of Australian contemporary art.
A three course luncheon was enjoyed in magnificent spring weather consisting of entrée, main course and dessert, with a choice in each and all sourced from locally produced ingredients. Once again the current releases of Art Series Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines were presented but on this occasion were complemented by the Prelude versions of the same wines. A fitting memory of the Estate and its conurbation of boutique wines, series and vintages.
We had been graced with a fabulous event in an iconic venue, with first class service, perfectly prepared and imagined courses but most of all matched by the full range of exceptional wines to enhance the experience. We will almost certainly make a sojourn to Margaret River and its vineyards an annual event.