Kevin Heaven: Cullen’s 2015 Chardonnay


This year the Kevin John gets a little head start on its flagship companion, Diana Madeline. As one of the great Chardonnays of Australia, it’s well and truly worthy of holding the limelight as a solo act. A couple of years ago, this wine starred in a James Halliday article entitled Cullen beats the burgundies, when Kevin pushed Coche into second place in the Cullen’s 30th annual International Chardonnay Tasting.
A year later, Halliday summed up the 2014 rendition as “a complete wine of very high quality”. That same wine had Gary Walsh of The Wine Front in rapture.  “Really glides along, goes long, and leaves you feeling satisfied and aglow with Margaret River Chardonnay love.”
So here’s the wine from a vintage Vanya describes as strikingly similar to the preceding year. “Power with grace,” is the impression Gary Walsh was left with, on tasting the 2015.
Be prepared to bask anew in the glow of
Margaret River Chardonnay love.

The 2015 Vintage at Cullen

Strikingly similar conditions, in terms of weather and yields, to the previous vintage. Very low yields of 1.39 tonne/hectare with no rain in January, February and until the end of harvest in March. One big difference was the Marri blossom which did not flower until after the harvest, causing bird pressure. This is a wine of great purity and refined elegance. The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested on fruit and flower days from 39-year-old vines. They were then whole bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast in barriques. The wine underwent natural malolactic fermentation prior to receiving five months of oak maturation

Tasting Notes

100% Chardonnay from the Cullen Vineyard. Handpicked on 23rd January, and 2nd to 5th February. Fruit and Flower days. Matured in 100% French oak (73% new) for five months. Alcohol 13%. 
Brilliant pale gold in colour, the wine is perfumed with citrus, pear and stone fruit aromas, all of which are enhanced by the barrel ageing. The palate is multilayered and complex, combining Bosc pear, nectarine and citrus notes. Wonderfully balanced by the savoury acidity.

Review

It’s a full golden colour, and the rich theme continues. Pear, sweet spices, ripe lime, fennel and biscuits. Medium bodied, full flavour, oxidative nutty character adds interest and complexity, acidity is flinty and composed, ginger and cinnamon spice studded pear tastiness, and a very long gently powdery, tangerine laced finish. It’s a beautiful thing. Power with grace. 96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front February 2017