Why is this Wine so Yummy?
“At the very top of the quality and ethical tree you might drink wine from the biodynamically certified vineyards of Cullen from Margaret River” – Tim White
From the Winery
The 2019 Diana Madeline was born of a low yielding (cabernet sauvignon 4.75 tonnes per hectare, merlot 2.13 tonnes per hectare, cabernet franc 4.01 tonnes per hectare, Malbec 3.43 tonnes per hectare) warm vintage.
The vines were planted in 1971 on ancient gravelly granite soils, producing a wine of great quality, elegance, perfume and balance.
Predominately Fruit days with one harvest occurring on a Full Moon perigee with a supporting fruit trine.
Skin contact time ranged from 10-29 days before being gently basket pressed to barrel. It has spent an average of 15 months in oak, with 45% new oak, in a mixture of biodynamic barriques and puncheons.
The varietal blend is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. The wine will age for up to 50 years.
Winery Tasting Note
Colour: Deep mulberry, ripe cherry with purple hues, showing youth, and vitality.
Bouquet: Delicious aromas, and deeply perfumed, violets, wild rose, mulberry, satsuma plum and cigar box. An intoxicating nectar of cabernet sauvignon and family, and classic old vine, low yielding and intensity.
Palate: An elegant, perfumed, wine. Light and intense, with fruit density, balance and opulent, in that Cabernet Sauvignon seductive way. The wines fine tannins, float across the palate…. Revealing plum, rose, chocolate, ironstone, cigar box and plum. The list of adjectives goes on and on into an infinite taste of Cullen Wilyabrup Diana Madeline – from a great vintage equal if not better than the great 2018.
Diana Madeline Cullen always liked the cooler seasons for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially the 1982. The cooler vintages make wines of great elegance and longevity.
The 1982 Cabernet Merlot for the 2018 Diana Madeline was harvested over the fruit and flower days of the biodynamic calendar, including one full Moon fruit day for the Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
The Cullen winemaking approach is that we will do whatever it takes to make outstanding wines.
Quality is paramount and every winemaking step incorporates this philosophy. The wines can only be as good as the grapes. The uniqueness of Cullen Wines comes in part from the vineyard. The role of the winemaker is to act as caretaker to the fruit – to understand and to realise the full potential of the vineyard and the fruit which comes into the winery.
As Diana and Kevin Cullen had such great foresight to plant on one of the great winegrowing sites in Margaret River, the winemakers job, working with such high quality fruit, has been made pleasurable.
There is, however, still a lot of experimentation and hard work which takes place in the winery at all times. At all steps of the process the wine (or wine to be) is treated gently and with great care.
The process of making the wine involves handling the fruit as little and as gently as possible. Practices such as hand harvesting, very little fruit transport, sorting of the fruit before crushing, minimal wine movement, minimal fining for the Whites, no fining for the Reds, and minimal filtration are used. This helps to ensure that the wine in the bottle is a true expression of the fruit that it is made from.
Cullen Wines are experimenting with natural winemaking.
The defining weather event in the 2019 vintage report was the frost on October which caused a 60% yield reduction in our chardonnay, due to timing and chardonnay being and early variety to go through budburst.
The weather conditions were relatively kind during the growing season although cooler, and harvest was short and sweet. This couldn’t have been better, as rains fell heavily shortly after harvest finished at Cullen’s. We are very excited about the quality of wines from the 2019 harvest, typical of low a low yield year. Because of the cooler conditions there was no food for the birds and nets were being taken off almost as we were harvesting to prevent damage. If you didn’t have nets there was no harvest as the birds were starving. A low year for honey also as no blossom on the gum trees and cooler conditions.
Biodynamics in the winery
To take this even further Cullen Wines are harvesting as much as possible using Maria Thun theory Basics. She suggests that the moon in a constellation has a favourable influence on the elemental relationship of fire which makes it better for harvest giving greater intensity and preservation of fruit flavour.
The wines are mostly making themselves with little or no intervention. This means indigenous yeast, no additions of any kind, minimal oak use and fining.
We would like to think that in both the vineyard and winery we are working with nature rather than trying to control it. This gives us the lands best and purest potential of expression being put into the bottle.
Where in the World is Cullen?
Margaret River south of Perth in Western Australia is a stunning part of the world. I had the great pleasure of working and playing there for a year back in the days when you could pick up a JL Chave Blanc for $60 at the Prevelly Park store!
Western Australian viticulturist John Gladstone identified the region as a promise place to grow Cabernet varieties, matching it’s climate to that of Bordeaux. Seems he was right!