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2002 Leeuwin Art Series, 1994 Clinet, 1998 Moss Wood @ Moomba

January 8, 2010

I was back at Moomba today with friends for what turned out to be a lovely meal over scallops and braised short ribs. Moomba is fantastic for excellent food at reasonable prices, as evidenced by a full crowd, and, of course, its BYO policy for Fridays and Saturdays, which is a great draw. Why can’t everyone do the same??

The 2002 Leeuwin Art Series chardonnay (courtesy K) was an absolute stunner right from the first pour. Beautifully golden, a touch heavy in color, exuding a very lovely and complex bouquet of nectarine, apricot, cinnamon, roasted cashews, creme de la creme , complete with a very deep minerality with an overlying yeasty character that we’ve only encountered from the wines of Corton-Charlemagne, principally from Bonneau du Martray, but which was present in great abundance in this Leeuwin, giving it a very sophisticated and aromatic lift. Great body, density and richness on the palate with lots of acidity still, ensuring that the wine remained fresh and lively right down to its lingering finish. It held on right till the end of the meal. I don’t think we’ve ever encountered such Old World charm and utter sophistication in any Leeuwin before, nor in any other Aussie chardonnay. Even Giaconda would take some beating. This is definitely the best example of Leeuwin Estate that I’ve ever had, and one of the best New World chardonnays. Truly memorable.

The 1994 Ch Clinet that followed was darker in color than the previous example I had in June 2009, displaying a bouquet of aniseed and dried herbs, the fruit beginning to dry out a bit. Medium bodied, smooth, but lacking in richness, depth and concentration, still a little tannic and hollow on the finish in spite of its age and having been decanted for more than an hour. My last bottle, and my third tasting over the past 18 months. It showed better today than six months ago, but it’s not going to improve further. Would have been quite perfect with more delicate cuisine, such as Japanese, but it didn’t quite match up to the excellent braised beef short rib.

But a surprise was in store…Augustine Kum of Moomba happened to chance upon us and very generously poured for each of us a glass of 1998 Moss Wood cabernet that had been opened for 8 days. It is amazing that this wine is still alive and kicking. Dark red, very open on the nose, producing a superb bouquet of tertiary flavours – cedar, ripe red and dark fruits, leather, sweet liquorice, and soy. Full-bodied, structured, rich without being unctuous, revealing good depth and density, its tannins suitably tamed, tapering to a long minty finish. Excellent stuff!

Today’s tasting seemed to demonstrate that the best Aussie wines possess longevity in abundance and are perfectly capable of superb results with careful cellaring whereas the French, true to its roots, couldn’t really care about how things would end up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    January 11, 2010 23:58

    Congratulations on breaking the 3000 hits mark.
    Always a pleasure to read and the photos are excellent.
    A gem of a wine blog. Gives neal martin a run for his money!
    Keep up the great work.

    • Ric permalink*
      January 13, 2010 07:46

      Thanks mate! Next round of drinks will be a Latour…

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