The 2007 Cullen Diane Madeline Cabernet Merlot will be one of the best vintages ever. The wines have incredible energy and vitality, fantastic flavour development and ripe, sweet, loose-knit tannins. The colours are vibrant and inky. Still elemental and in barrel, the wines have beautiful black current pastille/ dark cherry aromas with touches of violets and camomile. The palate structures are supple, fine grained and lacy with plenty of plummy/ cassis flavours and savoury/ cedar new oak. The wine finishes chalky with excellent flavour length. The wine is yet to be blended, but you can see all the elements are there. The Cabernet is pristine with classic tannin structures and the Merlot is plummy and soft. A small proportion of Cabernet Franc (dense and sweet) Malbec (meaty and rich) the Petit Verdot (deeply concentrated and licorice) will no doubt add further complexity. This will be a very special long-lived wine. Andrew Caillard MW
In 1966 Diana and Dr Kevin Cullen planted a trial 1-acre (now 71-acre) vineyard on their sheep and cattle property at Wilyabrup in the Margaret River. In 1989 daughter Vanya Cullen, a Roseworthy trained winemaker, assumed prime winemaking responsibilities. Her eye for detail and no-compromise approach has seen Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot emerge as one of the great Australian Cabernets. In 2001 it was named Diana Madeline in honour of Diana Cullen, Vanya’s mother and winemaker-in-arms for nearly two decades.
The Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 1971 on ancient granitic soils and are trained on a Scott Henry trellis system that Vanya believes is a critical factor in achieving supple tannin structures and a pure dark fruit profile. In recent years Vanya has adopted biodynamic viticulture to “achieve greater individuality of site through working with nature rather than against it”. Driving along Caves Road, you can see a huge difference between the Cullen vineyards and its neighbours. “The grapes are hand picked on optimum ripeness and flavour development. Between 10-50% of the wine is partially barrel fermented – the rest given extended maceration before maturation in 30% new, tightly-grained, French oak. This estate style is about freshness and complexity, structure and suppleness. When young the wines have pronounced cassis and cedar aromas with fine, beautifully ripe, tannins. Earthy, anise, gamy aromas and flavours develop with age. The Diane Madeline Cabernet Merlot is pure bottled philosophy. Andrew Caillard MW
2007 was a dream harvest much like 1995 where the season with good rains and sunshine enabled near perfect ripening. Since using biodynamic principles in our vineyards we have found our vines have become healthier and our fruit more balanced with better natural acidities and colour. I am excited by the 2007 vintage as the wines are really good with outstanding flavours and wonderful tannin structures. Vanya Cullen - Winemaker
This is as close to perfection as one can imagine in terms of structure, texture and its complex fruit flavours. Great now (2009), greater still in another 10 years, and who knows how long thereafter... 97 points, Wine Companion.
Outstanding fruit from this warm vintage shows the vines are very adaptable. Bright, clear colour; outstanding from the word go, receiving 97 points in 2009, and again now (2014). For good measure, it is described by Vanya (Cullen) as ‘one of the greatest Diana Madelines’. It has the layered complexity of young, high-quality Bordeaux, with spice, cedar, and blackcurrant fruit perfectly matched by fine, persistent, savoury (yet ripe) tannins drawing out the lingering finish. 14 months in oak, 48% new, 40% one-year-old, and 12% two-year-old; 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 97 points, Wine Companion.
This is the finest young DM I have ever tasted (2010)... It is not size that matters in this wine, but the intricate detail and infinite, miniature explosions of flavour which mesmerise the senses while keeping you totally and utterly locked on to the elemental machinations in the glass. Less muscular than Moss Wood but no less impactful, '07 DM scored a masterful 19.5/20 in my notes.
19.5/20 points, matthewjukes.com (2010).
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.
CullenIn 1966 Diana and Dr Kevin Cullen planted a trial 0.4 ha vineyard on their sheep and cattle property at Willyabrup in the Margaret River. A new vineyard was planted in 1971 with further plantings made over the subsequent decades. Winemaker and environmentalist Vanya Cullen, a strong believer in biodynamic viticulture, has harnessed the rhythms of the cosmos, earth’s energy and vitality to "achieve greater individuality of site through working with nature rather than against it". Meticulous attention to vineyard management results in fruit of exceptional intensity, concentration, tannin ripeness and acid balance. The “quest for quality, integrity and sustainability” is also reflected in the carbon neutral and naturally powered winery where sound winemaking techniques and skills are married with empathy for vineyard character.