Cullen Diana Madeline, bottle signed by Vanya Cullen.
Diana Madeline is one of Australia's defining Cabernets with its beautiful fruit definition, refined tannin structure and remarkable resonance of place.
Typically the Cabernet component is pristine with classic tannin structures and the Merlot is plummy and soft. A small proportion of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot add further complexity. The fruit is sourced from estate owned biodynamically farmed vineyards. Between 10 and 50% of the wine is partially barrel fermented; the rest is given extended maceration before further maturation in 30% new, tightly-grained French oak.
The colours are vibrant and inky and the aromas beautifully pitched with blackcurrant pastille, dark cherry fruit and violet camomile notes. Palate structures are supple, fine grained and lacy with plenty of plummy/ cassis flavours and savoury/ cedar new oak. While the wine is seductive when young, it has a reputation for developing further complexity while maintaining lively, dark fruits on the palate.
An 80/12/4/3/1% blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot; 18 months in French barriques (48% new). The bouquet is perfumed and very attractive, but doesn't prepare you for the sheer intensity of the quite beautiful palate, with gloriously juicy redcurrant and cassis cradled by fine tannins and integrated oak.
97 points, James Halliday (September 2013)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, the Cullen landscape: all are written in a clear, deliberate, careful script here. Interestingly for a cabernet sauvignon it’s as much or more of a water-colour style than it is an oil painting. Bay leaves, pencils, mulberries, boysenberry and subdued blackcurrant. There’s enough there, it’s right before your eyes, but it’s not shouting at you, just stop and listen and it’s all there to take in. Herbal notes, fraying, crunch them between your fingers and they disintegrate. Tannin comes with the taut, heavy, foreboding strum of a double bass, incalzando. It’s a wine of presence, and yet it’s neither large nor loud; it makes complete sense, even when it doesn’t.
96+ points, Campbell Mattinson (August 2013)
Attractive bright lighter red fruits on offer with almost strawberry-like aromas and vanillin; pretty and alluring. The palate has quite supple, sweet tannins and good mid-palate presence. Balanced and even, finishes fresh.
96 points, Nick Stock (January 2015)
Deepish red/purple colour. Black olive oak and cedary smoky aromas. Medium-bodied and lean, with taut, focused structure and elegance, if not particularly big or powerful. It has concentration and clarity, with appealing hints of violet. Balanced and discreet. Quite good length. This looks as if it needs time and should be a delicious, elegant style of cabernet when ready. (12% merlot, 4% malbec, 3% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot. 48% new oak).
95 points, Huon Hooke (September 2013)
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.