James Halliday – 2018 Halliday Wine Companion, August 3 2017
87% cabernet sauvignon, 11% merlot, 1% each of malbec and cabernet franc, from the Cullen Vineyard; matured for 17 months in French barriques (66% new). It is inappropriate to use the word ‘elegant’ in describing the wine, simply because it is on another, higher level, making the word hackneyed in this instance. The fragrant bouquet, the silky palate and perfectly shaped tannins of the finish are unique to this wine. Screwcap. 13% alc. Rating 98 To 2040
Ray Jordan – The West Australian, Saturday May 27th.
This is predominantly cabernet with about 11 per cent merlot and tiny amounts of malbec and cabernet franc. I don’t think I have tasted a more elegant and refined Diana Madeline than this one. It is a stunning expression of all that is superb about Margaret River and the Cullen vineyard. A leafy tobacco and dark fruit combo on the nose. But it is the palate that sets it apart. Chalky tannins, fine-grained oak and such gloriously expressive fruit. One of the very finest Diana Madelines I have tasted. 98/100.
Vanya Cullen has taken her cabernet merlot into the top echelon of Australian Cabernet through dogged determination, curiosity and superb technical skills. The exemplary vineyard site is planted on ancient granitic soils in the central Willyabrup sub-region of Margaret River. Cullen has adopted the principles of biodynamic viticulture to “achieve greater individuality of site through working with nature rather than against it”. This estate style is about freshness and complexity, structure and suppleness. The wines have pronounced cassis and cedar aromas with fine beautifully ripe tannins. Earthy, anise, gamy aromas and flavours develop with age. Diane Madeline Cabernet Merlot is named in memory of Di Cullen who established the winery and vineyard with her husband in 1966 and is pure bottled philosophy.
Top Vintages 2010, 2008, 2004, 2002, 2001,1999,1998,1997,1996,1995,1994
2015 Vintage Report / Strikingly similar harvest to 2014 in terms of weather and yields. Similar rainfall, dry from October to March. One difference was the Marri blossom which did not flower until after harvest, this created a lot of bird pressure.
The time of harvest was almost identical to 2014, however the wine styles are different. 2015 wines are characterised by lots of perfume, purity and great elegance whereas the 2014 wines are about fruit power and purity.
2015 had some hot days, cool nights, a small amount of rain, and although the yields were low it has produced outstanding wines. Harvest finished on the 11th of March.
The growing season for 2015 Diana Madeline was favourable with good spring rains and a warm, dry ripening period. Low yields of 2.47 tons per hectare produced a concentrated elegant wine, bright in colour, pure in fruit flavour concentration, with the classic Cullen Vineyard Wilyabrup cassis, violets, chocolate and ironstone.
It is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. 100% from the Cullen Vineyard. The primary fermentation took an average 12 days. Skin contact time average of 22 days