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Cullen Margaret River Diana Madeline 2016 £79.95
CULLEN MARGARET RIVER DIANA MADELINE
Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon-neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.
The soils at the Cullen vineyard are old granite and gravelly, sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. The Cabernet Sauvignon comprises 11.33 hectares and was planted in 1971. The Merlot was planted in 1976 and covers 1.76 hectares. The conversion to biodynamic viticulture is believed to have produced better fruit, the character of which is preserved during the winemaking process. Vanya, the winemaker, believes that these characters are best retained by bottling under Stelvin.
The growing season in 2016 was favourable with good spring rains and warm conditions. After three vintages of very low yields, this vintage has given a wine of elegance, brilliant colour and purity of fruit.
The fruit was hand-harvested and carefully sorted. Each variety was fermented separately with naturally occurring yeasts. Fermentation lasted an average of 35 days. The wine then spent a further 14 days on the skins to maximise extraction of tannins and aromas. The wine was then aged for 14 months in French oak barriques, 67% of which were new.
This is a complex and well-structured wine. Layers of blackcurrant fruit dominate the palate and are enhanced by leafy notes. Lovely spicy nuances are supported by fine-grained tannins, a result of the prolonged period of oak ageing. All the classic Cullen Vineyard Wilyabrup flavours are there: cassis, violets, chocolate and ironstone.
James Halliday - 98 Points - Gold
"93% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot, 1% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot, matured for 14 months in French barriques (67% new). Elegance personified, no compromise likewise. Then rack up extraordinary attention to detail, and the Wilyabrup district, the greatest part of the Margaret River. Given these parameters, the fluid grace of this beautiful wine might seem almost inevitable. But, of course, it's not - it's the distillation of two generations."
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