Great Margaret River Chardonnay. Ripe, unevolved, full of promise, its aromas of peach, cream caramel, smoky lees and classy oak are beautifully integrated. The palate is stylish, sustained and silky with firm backbone. 96 points, Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Age, Melbourne.
Australian wine royalty. Glowing straw colour. Rich and luscious but then steely and exquisitely long. We could have had it all, and so we did. Dry pears, fresh-sliced peaches, slipstreams of cedary/ creamy oak. Some alcohol warmth, for sure. Both more-ish and commanding. Takes modern quality and injects it with sheer drinkability. 95 points, Campbell Mattinson (winefront.com.au).
Hand-picked on a biodynamic flower day; whole bunch-pressed and wild-fermented in French oak and an egg, with a completely spontaneous fermentation before maturation for nine months in French oak (30% new). It has brightness and life from the natural acidity remaining after the malo-lactic fermentation, the fruit flavours drawn from both citrus and stone fruit inputs. 96 points, James Halliday (winecompanion.com.au).
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.