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2012 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Merlot

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Cracka Review

The Prelude series from Leeuwin Estate exemplifies the best styles and varieties of the Margaret River. In this case it’s Cabernet Merlot, one of the regions drawcards as a style, it has become famed the world over as making wines that are similar to those of Bordeaux. Richly perfumed with blackcurrant, vanillin oak, hints of chocolate and spice. Superb palate of black fruits, a mouth coating array of tannins and fine structure. The balance is exceptional and could only be improved by a charred steak on the barbecue.

Winemaker's Notes

Variety: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot.

Tasting Note: The bouquet shows great density, ripe concentrated blackcurrant, anise, black cardamom and lifted lavender with hints of black olives and plum aromas. The entry on the palate is soft and succulent whilst displaying a subtle texture with a black core of fruit including boysenberry, dark cherries and olive tapinade. The tannin and acid are seamlessly integrated from the front through to the long and lingering finish.

The Year: A winter and spring with little hail; while rainfall was below average dams filled and overflowed. Pruning was completed in September. Summer temperatures were above average with very few hot days, the afternoon sea breeze always a welcome cooling influence. The weather was consistently fine, warm and sunny with little rain.

Vinification: After individual berry sorting and cold soaking, fermentation took place in closed and open fermenters at temperatures up to 30•C with extraction by pumping over each individual lot three times daily. After malolactic fermentation entirely in barrels and nine months of barrel maturation, separate parcels are blended for further maturation in French Bordelaise coopered barriques with seasonal rackings. This wine spent 20 months in total in oak.

Cellaring Potential: 10-12 years.

Alc/vol: 14.0%

expert reviews about

2012 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Merlot

Expert Reviews

Wine Companion (2012 Vintage) says
Machine-harvested, crushed/destemmed, matured for 22 months in French oak (46% new). The bright hue sets the scene for the bright cassis and redcurrant fruit of the palate that has miraculously put the oak into its back pocket.
Drink by 2037
Tyson Stelzer (2010 Vintage) says
Leeuwin has worked like a demon in its vineyards for more than a decade now, achieving riper cabernet tannins, emphasising aromatics more and structure less. The effect has now filtered down to its Prelude second label, and the result is quite compelling, quite outclassing its price point. It’s beautifully medium-bodied and backward at four years of age, with varietal definition of bright cabernet fruit, tweaked with 12% merlot, carrying great depth and drive. Signature capsicum, tobacco, leaf and redcurrant hallmarks are propelled by fine-grained, graphite-like tannin structure and regional highlights of high cocoa dark chocolate.
Wine Taste Weekly
James Halliday (2008 Vintage) says
To 2018
Australian Wine Companion 2013
James Halliday (2007 Vintage) says
Australian Wine Companion 2012
Ray Jordan (2007 Vintage) says
This very early vintage in Margaret River produced some super wines. This late release from that vintage is moving effortlessly into its work now. Generous and full ripe cabernet with those firmish tannins filled with the warm flesh of merlot. IT sits together perfectly. Excellent
8 years
WA Wine Guide 2013
James Halliday (2005 Vintage) says
To 2015
Australian Wine Companion 2011
James Halliday (2004 Vintage) says
The bouquet offers red and black fruits, also exhibiting an alluring floral element; quite firm on entry, the tannins are fully ripe and very fine; the finish has good fruit to offset the savoury intensity.
Australian Wine Companion 2010 2009
Ray Jordan (2004 Vintage) says
A medium bodied fruit driven blend of cabernet and merlot with the pronounced minty red berry nuances on the nose quite evident. The palate while still showing some tannins is supple and generous with a firmish spine of oak and tannin. Nice drinking.
Ray Jordan's 2010 WA Wine Guide 2010
Nick Stock (2003 Vintage) says
A prelude indeed. Showing laid-back cabernet-merlot style with ripe berry fruits, plenty of creamy oak influence, some roasted meats and baking spices - nutty/savoury oak too. Starts out all taut and a little twangy then fades to a soft-centred easygoing palate, ripe fruit flavours and unobtrusive tannins.
Good Australian Wine Guide 2009 2008
James Halliday (2002 Vintage) says
Unconvincing colour; light- to medium-bodied, with strongly savoury/earthy flavours, needing more flesh.
Australian Wine Companion 2007 2006
Jeremy Oliver (2002 Vintage) says
An elegant, smooth and supple cabernet blend whose lightly herbal aromas of sweet red berries, blackberries and plums are supported by a slightly raw expression of cedar/vanilla oak. Medium to full in weight, its lightly smoky and cedary palate of lively small berry flavour is framed by fine, powdery tannin. It finishes long and lingering, with a persistent core of vibrant berry and plum flavours.
Australian Wine Annual 2006 2005
Jeremy Oliver (2001 Vintage) says
Elegant and measured cabernet blend whose earthy and lightly musky aromas of cassis and mulberries reveal suggestions of undergrowth, cedary oak and some floral qualities. Smooth and supple, the palate is richer, riper and more structured than the nose would indicate, with several layers of fruit well integrated with oak and tannins, plus a relatively light herbal influence.
Australian Wine Annual 2005 2004
James Halliday (2001 Vintage) says
Leafy, minty redcurrant and raspberry; firm but fine tannins.
Australian Wine Companion 2005 2004
James Halliday (1999 Vintage) says
Medium red-purple; the elegant bouquet has attractively sweet but fine fruit allied with subtle oak; the palate moves up a notch, with a mix of blackcurrant, a touch of chocolate, and savoury tannins to close.
Australian Wine Companion 2003 2002

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