With the 2013 vintage Vasse Felix renamed its flagship Cabernet blend. The wine that was Heytesbury is now Tom Cullity, named for the Margaret River pioneer who founded Vasse Felix in 1967. Langton’s Classified under its previous name, Tom Cullity Cabernet Malbec is assured a place among Australia’s finest red wines.
The wine is typically 75% cabernet sauvignon, 20% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot sourced from the original Vasse Felix vineyard planted by Dr Tom Cullity. Fruit parcels are picked in small blocks and fermented with wild yeasts; 52% static fermented and macerated on skins for 20 days or more; 48% open fermented and macerated for 10-15 days on skins. The wine then typically spends 18 months in French oak (about 60% new, 40% second to fifth use) and is fined with egg whites and racked before bottling with minimal filtration.
"The best Cullity yet released, confirmed in my own mind at a vertical tasting of the previous vintages. Lifted scents of cedar and subtle bay leaf with crushed rose petal nuances. The palate is deep and powerful with controlled structure of chalky, slightly powdery fine tannins and fine-grained oak. There is a minerally almost sea spray lime character cutting through the dark fruits and chocolate richness. Compelling and just magnificent."
99 points, West Australian
"Deep, bright red/purple colour. Very attractive fresh violet, rose, blueberry, raspberry aromas, some cassis as welll, the oak well tucked in. Lots of floral high-notes. It's intense and firm in the mouth, with a little austerity in its tannins. It's been built to last, no doubt, and is arguably not quite ready. Elegance is notable. A pristine cabernet with a long and exciting future ahead of it, for the patient. (78% cabernet sauvignon, 20% malbec, 2% petit verdot)."
96 points, The Real Review (March 2020)
"This has a very complex, integrated array of red-plum, redcurrant and mulberry aromas with cedary nuances, as well as forest wood, fresh earth, graphite, pepper, leaves, shitake mushrooms and more. The palate is finely layered with grainy, powerful tannin and gives an overall impression of focused power with deeply rich dark berries, plums, berries and mulberries. Seamlessly composed. Drink or hold. This has a long life ahead."
96 points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2020)
"Nearly as impressive as the 2014 on this occasion, the 2016 Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec is inky dark and concentrated, with youthful oaky notes of cedar and vanilla joining blueberries and cassis. It's full-bodied, rich and velvety in the mouth, ending with a stupendously long and luxuriously plush finish. It should drink well for two decades."
95 points, Wine Advocate (January 2020)
"Boysenberry, red fruits, cedar, aniseed, tobacco and new leather. It’s medium-bodied, pretty lively in the acidity department, with a blood orange tang, baking spices and black olive, mocha, and grainy tannin running with redcurrant on a firm and spiced oak finish."
94 points, The Wine Front (April 2020)
It's a pleasure to spend time with Tom Cullity. This is all about refinement. It has a presence and a whole lot of detail. The fruit savoury and sweet, the iodine and graphite character of the malbec infused into the DNA. There are also finely chiselled tannins, lively acidity and a length like no tomorrow. Sure there's a power and energy, but the wine's defining feature is elegance.
97 points, Wine Companion (October 2019)
The fragrance of Cabernet and sauvory detail of Malbec unite to distinguished effect in this long-ripening season, giving birth to one of the greatest blends in the lauded history of this legendary estate. Intricately scaffolded with ethereal fruit, enduring, powder fine tannins and sensative oak interlocking seamlessly, this is a masterfully crafted creation. It is impeccably polished from the outset, yet possessing of staggering longevity. 14.2%
98 points, WBM
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.
Vasse Felix was the first commercial vineyard and winery to be established in Margaret River. The name is derived from Vasse (a French seaman who drowned last century while exploring the coastline on the ship Geographe under Captain Freycinet) and the French term for luck. Under the ownership of the Holmes a Court family Vasse Felix has carved an excellent reputation for its superbly made wines. The plush, intensely-flavoured and chocolaty Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Blend – a limited-release, best-of-vintage ‘Grand Vin’ – is a beacon of quality that is included in the Langton’s Classification. The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, also Langton's-Classified, captures regional rather than site-specific characters. Of equal reputation are the exemplary Chardonnays, both the 'standard' Vasse Felix and the flagship Heytesbury. The Shiraz is also excellent. The entry-level Filius range -- a Chardonnay and a Cabernet-Merlot -- offers exceptional quality and value, as do the even more affordable 'ground-floor' duo of Classic Dry White (Semillon-Sauvignon) and Classic Dry Red (Shiraz-Cabernet). Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's