Leeuwin Estate Prelude Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 (review)

89 points

Leeuwin Estate Cabernet stands out in Australia with a very distinctive house style. It’s closer to top Bordeaux in flavour profile in both fruit flavour and winemaking. But over the years the wines have become increasingly huge, and 1999 (a very good vintage in Western Australia) is no exception. I don’t really approve of the trend of moving to 15% alcohol in Leeuwin Estate Cabernets, but it hasn’t turned me off the wines completely because their quality and distinctive style are so attractive. I bet Robert Parker would like them.

Prelude is the “2nd wine”, about one third the price of their Art Series Cabernet. A deep dense red, with ultra ripe (not jammy) Cabernet aromas, not fruity at all, into a much more physiologically ripe spectrum. Oddly this sort of ripeness is not often seen in Australian cabernet. There are flavours like ripe Malbec.

The palate of this wine hits with a whomp. It’s serious, savoury, and large. 2nd wines like this seldom are so rich. Drinking well now, I expect it will continue to do so for much of this decade.

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