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James Halliday, 27 July 2013 2011 Cullen Diana Madeline 97 points:
Drink to 2031 The name of this flagship wine was adopted in 2002 to honour Di Cullen. A blend of 80% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 4% malbec, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot, it spent 18 months in French barriques. The bouquet is attractive but doesn’t prepare you for the sheer intensity of the quite beautiful palate, with gloriously juicy redcurrant and cassis cradled by fine tannins and integrated oak. 12.5% alc; screwcap
Tyson Stelzer, 26 July 2013 2011 Diana Madeline 98 points:
Drink 2031 – 2046 The marvels of superfine graphite structure, euphoric fragrance and enduring longevity achieved in the Cullen vineyard at just 12.5% alcohol are without precedent anywhere in the country. The sheer tannin shape of this wine is mesmerising, with enduring grip that will sustain it for at least three decades, yet the epitome of finesse and unashamedly medium-bodied. The clarity of violet perfume and depth of pristine red- and blackcurrants is faultless, perfectly framed in tobacco leaf, cedar, coffee bean and high cocoa dark chocolate. For the record, 80% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 4% malbec, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot – but I challenge you to spot any seam in its composition. One of the greatest and longest-lived Diana Madelines.
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
This wine, together with the 2011 Kevin John Chardonnay, unequivocally demonstrates that the 2011 vintage at Cullen Wines was excellent for both white and red grape varieties. This Diana Madeline has outstanding and pristine fruit clarity. As always, this flagship red wine is produced only from the very best barrels produced from the Bordeaux red grape varieties grown on the Cullen vineyards. While the superb Cabernet Sauvignon produced in 2011 is the predominant variety in this Diana Madeline, the quality and complexity of this wine has been enhanced by the addition of carefully selected amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The fruit was picked at Baumés ranging from 12.2° and 13.1° and the wine benefited from lengthy maturation in high quality French oak.
The very dry and warm Spring (only 111mm of rain from September 2010 onwards) combined with the consistently hot Summer led to the fruit of all grape varieties ripening within a relatively short period of time, and thus to harvest extending only from 1 February to 9 March. This was the earliest finish to vintage on record. It was also a vintage of super moons! The vintage conditions in 2011 are resulting in the production of white wines that have great flavour and elegance and to red wines with marvellously concentrated fruit flavours.