Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2005
Bordeaux Red Blends from Margaret River, Australia
This is a great wine and one of the very finest Bordeaux blends ever produced at Cullens. It was made using all of the five red grape varieties of Bordeaux, with Cabernet Sauvignon comprising three quarters of the blend. Merlot was the next most important contributor with 16%, followed by Malbec (5%), Cabernet Franc (4%) and Petit Verdot (1%). The wine has benefited from having been matured for 19 months in French barriques, of which 70% were new.
The 2005 Diana Madeline is a magnificent inky red color with a dense purple meniscus. The nose combines youthful dark berry fruits with intense potpourri notes for a powerful yet elegant example of Margaret River Cabernet. Dense black cherry and cassis fruits combine with lifted floral notes and fine, dusty tannins, while the exceptionally long finish reflects the quality of both producer and vintage.
Australian Wine Companion - "As ever, has fine but persistent tannins running from the fore-palate through to the finish; the deep and intense fruit will sustain the wine until those tannins loosen their grip. All five Bordeaux varieties present led by Cabernet Sauvignon (75%)."
Wine Enthusiast - "With only 50 cases imported, this review will be of only academic interest to most consumers, but for those lucky enough to latch onto a bottle or two, try to hold off opening one until 2015 or so. Right now, it's oh so promising, but also very tight. Scents of toasted almonds, vanilla and cassis only stubbornly emerge, and the wine is clearly packed with potential but also showing a lot of tannin on the finish."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright purple. Intriguingly perfumed aromas of vibrant red- and blackcurrant, cherry and plum brightened by nervy mineral and fresh rose notes. Crisp and wonderfully focused red fruit flavors show no rough edges and offer impressive depth; the floral quality builds with air and a hint of anise arrives on the back. This really expands and gains in sweetness on the long, spicy finish. Possesses the balance and concentration to repay at least another six years of cellaring."
Wine Spectator - "This has elegance and presence, striking a lovely balance between firm texture and fresh fruit flavors, with tannins. The flavors persist winningly. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2009 through 2015. 50 cases imported."
Wine & Spirits - "The Cullens grow this cabernet blend under biodynamic principles, working with 30-year-old vines. The fine scent of oak and the amplitude that aging in barrel can provide is the most immediate impression. Later, once the wine develops with air, fragrant cherry and blueberry scents come forward, along with firm, gentle tannins. The wine doesn't feel pushed at all, its natural balance certain to sustain it for years in the cellar."
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A founding winery of Margaret River, established by Diana and Kevin Cullen in 1971. It is now regarded as one of Australia’s greatest estates, producing what many critics believe to be the country’s definitive Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. The white wines (both Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon) are also regarded among the nation’s best.
Daughter of Di and Kevin, Vanya, took over winemaking duties in 1989. In 2000, Vanya was honored as Australia’s Winemaker of the Year.
The 72 acre Cullen vineyard is planted predominantly in gravelly, sandy, granite derived topsoils with a clay base. It is entirely dry farmed.
In 2003, after 3 years of conversion, the property was awarded ‘A’ grade organic certification by the Biological Farmers Association. It is anticipated that the vineyard will qualify for Biodynamic Certification in 2004.
“One of the pioneers of Margaret River which has always produced long-lived wines of highly individual style from the substantial and mature estate vineyards. Winemaking is now in the hands of Vanya Cullen, daughter of the founders; she is possessed of an extraordinarily good palate. The Chardonnay is superb, while the Cabernet Merlot goes from strength to strength; indeed, I would rate it Australia's best.”
-James Halliday, 2003 Australia Wine Companion View all Cullen Wines
About Margaret RiverView a map of Margaret River wineries Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. Other varieties that have found results are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay & Riesling.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.