Two-thirds whole berries/one-third crushed into 300l terracotta amphorae for wild fermentation, 10 weeks on skins before pressed to French oak (66% new) for 5 months. This is a truly beautiful and graceful cabernet. Its purity of varietal fruit expression, its perfect fruit/oak/tannin balance and its length are exceptional.
99 points, Wine Companion (December 2017)
The colour is not very dark but is a very bright and deep, full purple/red. The bouquet speaks of violets and mixed berries; oak is barely evident. The tannins are very fine and the wine is subtle, elegant and beautifully balanced. Wonderful cedary complexity. Elegance personified. It's all about the purity of the fruit. A beautiful wine. (150 dozen made. Harvested on a full-moon fruit day, from the oldest vines on the Cullen vineyard. Fermented in wax-lined 300-litre terra cotta vessels. It spent 10 weeks on skins, and just 5 months in oak barrels, of which 2/3 were new.)
98 points, The Real Review (November 2017)
A wine of immense presence yet understatement and finesse. Succulence in texture, fine, powdery tannins reaching impossibly long in the palate, a deep stain of black berries and bayleaf – sounds familiar but it’s the way its packed so impossibly finely into its neat, filigree frame where the magic is. There’s a plume of fine perfume, spiced, gently woody, dark in fruit and lifted on undergrowth and peppery spice character. So much charm here. And quiet power. And precision in the way it hits the mouth tight, building in grip, lingering with mouthwatering readiness. Elegance in wine can be ephemeral as concept or definition, but here’s one for Encyclopaedia Britannica. Outstanding.
97+ points, The Wine Front (January 2018)
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.