An extraordinary wine from the oldest (1971) estate plantings, wild fermented and matured for 19 months in French oak (47% new). Deeply coloured and highly fragrant, the palate takes you on a mesmerising ride with a mid-palate peak of pure, unalloyed cassis fruit, then a swish of integrated savoury tannins before rising again on the dark fruit line of the finish thanks in part to 3% Petit Verdot. 99 points, James Halliday (winecompanion.com.au).
Not to be made every year, the debut vintage of the 2012 Vanya is a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon with 3% Petit Verdot. Only 4500 bottles of this wine were made. It spent 19 months in 50% new oak and possesses a deep garnet-purple colour with a savoury, yeasty and meaty nose redolent of red and black plums, cassis and cigar box, and a spicy undercurrent of lavender, bay leaf and rust. This multi-layered, taut, intensely flavored wine is beautifully elegant in the mouth, with incredibly ripe flavors and with silky tannins. It should cellar for 20-30 years or more.
97+ points, eRobertparker.com
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.