We’re revisiting a classic favourite here, Cullen from Margaret River, almost 12 months to the day from our last Cullen offer. It might be something to do with this brutal, cold snap of weather hitting the east coast, but likely more to do with the fact that Cullen is on the tip of the proverbial tongue within the industry, as they go from strength to strength.
Owner, winemaker Vanya Cullen has just hosted a swathe of media, winemaker colleagues, distributors and trade at her family’s modest vineyard in Wilyabrup in the northern parts of Margaret River. It was to celebrate 50 years of Cullen which was first planted in 1971; a massive achievement in Margaret River’s young but esteemed history. Cullen have been pioneers and standard bearers in this stunning region, driving quality and gathering international attention with world class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Vanya is also one of Australia’s pioneers of organic and biodynamic viticulture (vineyard management). It is a strong philosophy of maintaining soil health and recognising the link between the plant’s growth cycle and the cosmos. It may sound farfetched, but it is a wholistic view that encourages sustainability, and it is hard to argue with the consistent quality that Cullen deliver. It is also a philosophy that you feel when you are at the winery and when you talk to any of the team at Cullen.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is from a relatively cool vintage for Margaret River, though in the warm and dry sub-region of Wilyabrup, this delivers power with restraint. For a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine, this is finessed, nuanced, long and delicious. It is medium bodied, driven by red and black currants, silky through the palate, earth driven with flavours of cedar, tobacco, fennel and spice. It is absolutely elegant and fine, and for those that enjoy French Clarets or Italian reds, the weight, restraint and earth driven qualities will satisfy. We think Cabernet gets a bad rap with the next gen of wine drinkers, and if you’re sceptical, producers like Cullen will change your mind. It is not blocky, it is not hard, it is refreshing and delicious.
95 points and some impressive commentary from Wine Front, no easy feat. Decant for an hour, if possible, serve with any type of lamb dish, and drink confidently over the next 8 years. Over time the intensity of the fruit will dissipate, and the cedar, smoke, spice and lead flavours will become more pronounced. We hope you enjoy it.
Tom and Dan