An excellent vintage and the one that put Margaret River on the map, but it wasn't this wine that did it. Close neighbours Cape Mentelle won Australia’s most coveted wine trophy, the Jimmy Watson Trophy, which is awarded annually at the Melbourne Wine Show to the best One Year Old Red (and yes, the insanity of having your major trophy awarded to a red that usually has not even been bottled is not something that has escaped notice, but is a topic for another day). Cullen's was a close runner-up. Having tried both wines recently, there is no doubt that the judges got it the wrong way around. This wine has held up superbly; sadly, Cape Mentelle less so. Cape Mentelle rose again with their 1983, and on that occasion it was a clearly superior wine to Cullen's.
Yields were 1.5 tonnes per acre for the Cabernet and a miserly 1 tonne per acre for the Merlot. A 73/27% blend which spent 22 months in oak. The long, cool ripening period was ideal for Cabernet. Harvest was not until well into April, rather than the more usual March picking.
Di Cullen was so pleased with this wine that it led to the decision to drop the straight Cabernet and concentrate on the blend. Mind you, it took three years to sell this vintage - at A$6 a bottle.