Country: Australia, Margaret River
Tasting Notes: Wild-fermented in terracotta amphorae for 10 weeks on skins before being pressed to French oak for five months. This is a beautiful, graceful cabernet. Its purity of varietal fruit expression, fruit/oak/tannin balance and length are all exceptional.
Cullen’s extraordinary ‘Vanya’ release created quite a stir from 2012, and returns in 2015 having been fermented and matured in amphora before a shorter (five month) stint in oak (two thirds of which are new). The currency of vessels aside, the fruit, grown biodynamically of course, is from older vines under the care of Cullen. An emphatic assertion about Australia, Margaret River, fine wine Down Under, and the dedication of the Cullen family.
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 its 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.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon