Tasted at the ever enchanting Ultimo Wine Centre just a few days ago, this lineup yet again reminded how much the Cullen wines have evolved. No sign of simple fruit flavours in this collection, instead, these are complex, thought provoking, even challenging wines. What I like the most, however, comes in the tannin structure of the reds. The Diana Madeline below has a tannin intensity that is largely missing in most Australian reds, tannins that seem mature, even old world in their authenticity.
It’s great to see.
Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay 2007
The challenging wine. Golden Circle tinned pineapples play a surprisingly dominant part here, particularly on the nose. Behind this lays slightly raw, hay and pear barrel characters. The nose then is somewhat of a jumble, even if it posesses all the elements for possible future integration. The sweet and sour palate is similarly dry and almost jarring, with citrussy acidity and length in abundance, all sitting with unquestioning intensity, yet making for a wine that is nowhere near drinkable or even particularly enjoyable.
This wine then is a conundrum. It’s seriously serious and all that, but it’s also rather hard to love right now. The score then is a nod to the future, but also a reflection of awkwardness. 17.1
Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2007
Classic nose. Pencil shavings, dill, cedar and red fruit in a really fragrant and nearly perfect style. Great. Very light and pretty for Wilyabrup. The palate though is brutally uncompromising, with force-your-mouth-together tannins that are amazing, yet at the same time so unequivocal that this is simply not for drinking right now. 20 year wine. Buy some and forget about it, or decant for days. I’m giving it a conservative score, based largely on the impressive shell behind the wine. Take note of the all important plus signs at the end. 18.5++
Cullen Mangan 2007
Easily the best Mangan ever and so approachable and drinkable when compared to the two wines above. The nose seems quite Francish in its red fruit fragrance (though there is no Cab Franc here, only Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot) backed by red meat and some aromatic, slightly herbal nuances. The real beauty though is on the medium bodied palate. All the flavours, the layers, seem perfectly delineated, like a classic blend should be. It feels light and elegant, opulent, but with surprise tannins, just to keep it all in shape. It is, in short, a beautiful wine with so very much to like. 18.6