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Wines of Margaret River

© 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Margaret River, Australia.

CULLEN WINES

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Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008
The Mangan vineyard is a more recent addition to the estate, sited just across the road from the winery and home vineyards. 70% Sauvignon, about 30% of which was barrel fermented. Discreet, subtle nose, the lightly herbal and creamy aromatics along with a very delicate florality. The palate has a bracing core of lemony fruit: a huge streak of it through the mid-palate, and a pithy, lemon finish. Bracing, dry and intelligent stuff. 87/100

Cullen Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008
80% Sauvignon Blanc, similar oak regime to the Mangan. More pronounced aromatically, with a bit of leafy, crisp, much brighter and slightly riper fruit, and even hint of herbs. The palate has more vibrancy and weight too, with lots of vivacious punch, a bit of really pithy, piercing green fruit bite and lovely acid. 89/100

Kevin John Chardonnay 2007
Fermented with wild yeasts, and 10 months of oak ageing in new and older barrels, and partial malolactic. Subtly creamy nose, with very nice almond and cashew aromatics, and just hinting at ripe, almost pineapple fruit in the background - though all very subtle. The palate has terrific, juicy, lemon and lime zing. The fruit stays focused and tight, with a really keen edge and just little glimpses of something more peachy and exotic. Linear and long, with lovely balance in the finish. 91/100.

Cullen Mangan 2007
Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot in roughly equal proportions. Four months in new and older oak. Instantly the nose is very finely balanced, with a cedary, savoury chestnut note to really lifted, cherry and violet scented black fruit. The palate has plenty of creamy, textural density, with the savoury black fruit dry and mouth-filling, with a black plum skin grip and lovely bittersweet balance. Very fine tannins here. 90/100.

Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007
20 months barrel ageing. This is effectively a second wine of Diana Madeline, and is sold only in Australia. Not singing in the glass, but from an open bottle, so possibly not as fresh as it might be. Good balance - subtle, nice smooth tannins and a pleasantly soft finish. A provisional 88/100.

Diana Madeline 2007
Predominantly Cabernet, with 8% Merlot and 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aged 14 months in French oak. Nicely spicy nose, with very cool, classy aromatics, lots of black cherry and blackcurrant, and a background that just hints at gentle cedar and a touch of subtle sage. Beautiful mouth-filling fruit, with that dry, savoury tannic structure. Lovely purity and the silky, very finely grained tannins and supple quality just run on forever on the palate. A beautiful wine. 94/100.

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