Vanya Cullen's recognition of her father, founder of the winery. A small quantity of the very best estate chardonnay grapes wild-fermented in barrel, matured in French oak (50% new) for 6 months. Wait for 15 seconds after you have swallowed the wine to find just how intense and long the wine is, and also its elegance.
97 points, Wine Companion (January 2019)
The two things here that lift this wine above the pack are texture and length, and both are unquestionably impressive. There’s zing and chalk, intensity, and a lingering aftertaste. In among all that there’s ripe lime, spicy oak, mint nougat, dried pear and cashew. Power delivered on rails of zesty acidity, a saline character, oak certainly present, but not overdone. It’s the very model of a modern Chardonnay. It’s a beauty.
96 points, The Wine Front (March 2020)
One of the most powerful and intense of this illustrious line. Power of lemon zest, stone fruit and lime. The palate is a powerhouse with a deep and concentrated middle extending urgently to a very long finish. Complex and layered with structure that will handle extended cellaring. One of the very best.
98 points, The West Australian (April 2020)
This has such a complex, pristine nose with wet stones, lemon curd and sliced and grilled peaches, as well as fresh apricots and grilled hazelnuts. It is brimming with life. The palate is so perfectly measured and smoothly fleshy with a succulent core of such juicy, rich peaches and grilled lemons. It unfolds long and graceful into the finish. Brilliant chardonnay here. Drink or hold.
98 points, Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, April 2020.
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.