“An emphatic assertion about Australia, Margaret River, fine wine Down Under, and the dedication of the Cullen family.” – Mike Bennie
Blazing a trail is as natural to Cullen as grasping for the sun to a vine shoot. This Margaret River pioneer boldly took off as pace setter for certified organic, biodynamic winegrowing in Australia. Thanks to the unshakeable conviction and uncanny brilliance of Vanya Cullen, it’s right out at the front of the pack, with a clarity of varietal and vineyard expression that others can only marvel at.
And then, from the 2012 vintage, came another audacious move. Vanya elevated the Cabernet Sauvignon grape to its Australian apogee. It carried a name and a price tag that spoke of its confidence and ambition. But it was the wine that spoke loudest. James Halliday, handing the inaugural Vanya 99 points, declared it an “extraordinary wine” that takes the taster on “a mesmerising ride”. “This multi-layered, taut, intensely flavoured wine is beautifully elegant in the mouth, with incredibly ripe flavours and with silky tannins,” wrote Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW. “The quality of the acidity and tannin here is, well, unnaturally good,” gushed Gary Walsh of The Wine Front. “Beautiful wine.”
Now it’s the turn of the 2015.Once again, this wine is a tribute to the land and the vines it came from. Vanya added nothing – no yeast, acid or malolactic culture. Nor is the wine fined; just a pure expression of another great year. It has perfume, it has succulence, and it has long, deep, layered Cabernet flavour. But, as Mike Bennie puts it, “the way it’s packed so impossibly finely into its neat, filigree frame [is] where the magic is”.
You could barely wish for a more powerful, or eloquent, declaration of love for wine and the land that bears it. Don’t miss the magic.
2015 Cullen Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $540
2015 was a strikingly similar harvest to 2014 in terms of weather and yields. Cullen also saw similar rainfall, with dry conditions from October to March. The time of harvest was almost identical to 2014, finishing mid-March. 2015 wines are characterised by lots of perfume, purity and great elegance.
Fruit for the 2015 Cullen Vanya was harvested from the oldest vines on the Cullen vineyard on a full-moon fruit day. The must was fermented in wax-lined, 300-litre terracotta amphora, where it spent 10 weeks on skins. It was then transferred to French oak barrels (two-thirds new), where it matured for a further five months.
The colour is not very dark but is a very bright and deep purple/red. The bouquet speaks of violets and mixed berries; oak is barely evident. The tannins are very fine and the wine is subtle, elegant, and beautifully balanced. Wonderful cedary complexity. Elegance personified. It’s all about the purity of the fruit. A beautiful wine. 98 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review
A wine of immense presence yet understatement and finesse. Succulence in texture, fine, powdery tannins reaching impossibly long in the palate, a deep stain of black berries and bayleaf – sounds familiar but it’s the way it’s packed so impossibly finely into its neat, filigree frame where the magic is. There’s a plume of fine perfume, spiced, gently woody, dark in fruit and lifted on undergrowth and peppery spice character. So much charm here. And quiet power. And precision in the way it hits the mouth tight, building in grip, lingering with mouthwatering readiness. Elegance in wine can be ephemeral as concept or definition, but here’s one for Encyclopaedia Britannica. Outstanding. 97+ points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front