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After yet another trip down the Leasingham Winery path, David Pike reports that magical winemaker Kerri Thompson has turned out yet more stunning offerings.

I always look forward to tasting the wines from Leasingham winery in the Clare Valley about an hour and a half north of Adelaide each year.

Winemaker Kerri Thompson seems able to wave a magic wand over these wines each vintage as you would have to look quite a way back to find a wine that is not stunning.

The Leasingham Company began life as the Stanley Wine Company in the Clare Valley in the late 1890’s, founded by the unlikely mix of a businessmen, a brewer, a solicitor, a doctor and a wine merchant named Joseph Knappstein.

The Knappstein name remains synonymous with the wine industry today.

After nearly two decades the company reverted to the sole control of the Knappstein family after Joseph bought out his partners.

It remained under Knappstein family control until 1971 when the Heinz Company purchased a controlling interest.

The baked beans giant continued its control of the company until Thomas Hardy & Sons purchased the Stanley in 1988.

A year later it was formally recognised as Leasingham Wines and in 1993 celebrated 100 years of production.

Leasingham Bin 7 Riesling 2002 18.75/20

An absolute cracker of a wine that is the best that I have ever seen from these guys. It is simply stunning and well worth whacking down the credit card and grabbing a dozen. Scrumptious and enticing aromatics of lime citrus and touches of apple blossom.

Once you get this on the palate you will find yourself in the mystical riesling zone and be reaching to top up your glass. Mouth puckering acidity mingles delightfully with citrus lime flavours and a refreshing finish. It is a must buy.

Leasingham Bin 56 Cabernet Malbec 2000 18/20

This is ready to drink now although it is not going to go bad over the next few nights. It is an 80 per cent cabernet with 20 per cent malbec that is matured in a combination of French and American oak for around 18 months.

The wine displays perfumed notes of spice and ripe blackberry and briary fruits with an undertone of cigar box or tobacco.

The palate is full of ripe, rich and enticing blackberry pastel fruits. There is an underlying fennel touch with a hint of cassis, approachable tannin and length of finish. Medium cellar potential.

Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 2000 18.5/20

Beware. You might just be locking the door when your mates come round after sinking your teeth into this humdinger.

The American oak lends around 90 per cent maturation to this wine and the French just 10 per cent.

Aromas of cherries and vibrant ripe plums tend to dominate but there is a fresh touch of violets and mulberries hanging around.

The palate is packed full of ripe dark berry fruits with some damson notes and a subtle hint of coffee and spice.

There is plenty on the finish and plenty of juice in the tank for cellaring over the next few years.

With tickets now on sale for the 2003 Leeuwin Estate Concert starring KD Lang in February focus will briefly be diverted from the wines that are produced from this renowned winery.

However, you should keep an eye out for the recently released 2000 Leeuwin Art Series Shiraz. In keeping with the Art Series theme on their premium labels, the Horgans selected Caterpillar Dreaming by Aboriginal artist Lorna Napurrula Fencer for this year’s wine. It intends to feature Aboriginal artists on the Art Series Shiraz with all future vintages.

Leeuwin Art Series Shiraz 2000 17.75/20

Bob Cartwright and his team at Leeuwin have put together a really sound first up effort with this Art Series Shiraz.

It seems to have all the right ingredients in all the right places and the style will only benefit as the fruit source matures. Spice and cloves with dark cherry aromas and a touch of liquor chocolate and violets combine on the nose.

The palate displays cherry fruits with a glimpse of new season plums, a touch of fennel and a degree of spice and acidity. The oak and tannins play their part showing a raspy gripping texture across the palate. The wine finishes relatively long with plenty of spice and plenty to look for.

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