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.
Previously Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Malbec. Langton's Classified 'Outstanding'.
That this is an elegant wine is the first thing to note here. The nose has hints of gravel and leafy nuances — a textbook regional expression. It's really seductive, and there's a fusion of bright and vibrant redcurrants, boysenberries and red cherries together with cassis and blue plums as well as mulberries. Some fresh, violet-like florals and freshly cut herbs also come into play along with pomegranate and deliciously fresh and cedary oak that's well played in behind vineyard-focused characters. The richer Malbec fruits are clear here, and at 20% of the blend, it has a role to play, both in terms of the upfront plushness and back palate depth. The old vines are also working some magic within the layers of structure and length here. The palate's immaculate and supple, the tannins are fluid, long and polished, and there's detail here as well as depth, before things culminate in an incredibly fresh finish. Tannins are superbly elegant and truly refined. This is a wine of finesse and fine detail. Beautifully grown, perfectly captured and astutely crafted. This is everything a great wine should be and a new step for Vasse Felix, Margaret River and for Australian Cabernet. Drink 2020-2030+
99 points, jamessuckling.com
Previously Vasse Felix Heytesbury; Langton's Classified 'Outstanding'.
Wild-fermented with 28-35 days on skins, matured in French oak (61% new) for 18 months. Don't pay any attention to the slightly light colour, but certainly dwell on the gloriously fragrant bouquet and the intensity of the cassis-accented palate. This is a truly sophisticated blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot, with exceptional texture, length and aftertaste. 98 points, winecompanion.com.au
The aromas of blackberry and blueberry, black licorice, and wet earth are compelling. Full body, chewy and tight. Such impressive tannin texture yet polished and juicy. Needs a lot of time to come together. A beautiful young wine.
97 points, jamessuckling.com (12/2017).
Very plush, fluid and deep-set palate with a lustrous polished texture. The Malbec works to shape the Cabernet in a different guise, which fills the wine out by delivering an intense and yet very detailed impression. These two varietals fit together in an unexpected hierarchy. Malbec supports Cabernet from below. Cleverly cut wine of superb quality. Drink or hold.
97 points, jamessuckling.com (3/2018).
Deep purple-red colour; a great range of perfumes contribute to an exquisite bouquet. Violets, blue and red fruits; very floral. The palate is extremely elegant, refined and lively, with power and concentration. It's very long and the palate is tight and fluent, with masses of fine-grained tannins. Fresh acidity cleanses the finish. A graceful wine, with great lightness of being. Caressing tannins and perfect harmony. (The first release of this wine, celebrating the winery's founder. 20% malbec. 1,000 cases produced. 14.5% alc. Screw-cap.)
97 points, Huon Hook (October 2016)
Deep red colour with a good tinge of purple and a fragrant bouquet, which perhaps shows the floral notes of malbec. It's full-bodied, elegantly-crafted and finely-textured, with great amplitude and persistence, and seemingly quite high acidity. Very bright, natural tasting wine with a marvellously refreshing, more-ish finish. It's not the biggest or most powerful style, but a superb wine which will be long lived. (20% malbec, 4% petit verdot).
97 points, Huon Hooke (November 2017)
The exciting debut of a new Vasse Felix flagship, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Tom Cullity is named for the winery's founder. Unlike the supplanted Heytesbury red, it's made entirely from estate fruit, primarily from the winery's oldest vines. It's a rich, expansive wine yet retains a firm, structured core that should allow it to age gracefully. Mint and bay leaf notes add complexity to the cassis fruit, while flourishes of French oak add vanilla and cedar.
95+ points, Joe Czerwinski (December 2017)
The debut release for this definitive statement of cabernet from Vasse Felix and Margaret River. Sourced from vines linked to those first Cullity plantings, it was all wild yeast fermented in static and closed fermenters, with skin maceration of 20 days. It's 76 per cent cabernet, 20 per cent malbec and 4 per cent petit verdot. It' all French Bordeaux oak for 18 months, with almost 70 per cent new. This is classic cabernet with a distinctive leafy grahite character on the nose and subtle savouriness. Has opened in the past few months to start revealing deep, rich cabernet flavours of cedar and dark chocolate worked with a lush blackcurrant and fine black-olive nuance.
98 points, The West Australian
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