Tuesday, 28 April 2015

FHI 2015 Part 1 - Cullen Wines

A pleasant surprise at the Food and Hotel Indonesia 2015 trade fair (Jakarta, 15-18 April 2015). To be honest, I wasn't expecting much by way of quality wine at this trade fair, so imagine my delight at seeing these trio of Cullen wines of Margaret River, Western Australia presented by Trevor Kent, winemaker at Cullen wines. Apologies if my tasting notes seem less detailed than is frankly expected at Vinoremus - I was after all, tasting out of small plastic cups (heresy, I know). The wines are written in the order they were tasted.

2012 Cullen 'Mangan Vineyard' Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

54% Sauvignon Blanc, 43% Semillon and 3% Verdelho. Very small percentage spent some time in oak.
Tangy and zingy on the nose, with fresh grapefruit, unripe lemon and green lime showing to the fore. If there was some oak treatment, it doesnt really show on the nose. On the palate, fresh and taut, with confident but not overpowering acidity as the backbone; plenty of fruit to flesh out the mid palate, good lick of minerality too. At the moment still rather tightly-knit, some hint of width from the Semillon begining to show. Well-structured, very together and drinking beautifully now, but I would expect it to be more exciting with time in bottle (now through to 2025). Great expression of Western Australia Sem/Sauv Bl blend.

2010 Cullen 'Mangan' Malbec Petit Verdot Merlot

38% Malbec, 32% Petit Verdot and 30% Merlot. Wild yeasts, vinified in tank, no oak.
Red fruits dominant on the nose: red plums and red cherries, with some secondary aromas of violets and sweet spice beginning to show. Theres a generous amount of plush fruit on the palate, still vibrant and primary; good acidity and yielding tannins. Such is the balance that everything feels in place like it belongs, nothing out of joint, and mercifully only 13% abv. Drinking well now, but will keep to 2020+.

2010 Cullen 'Diana Madeline'

A 77/10/6/4/3% blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Fully biodynamic. Vinified  in oak, some new.
Primary fruits on the nose: plums, blackberry and blackcurrant. Theres a sense of brooding depth to this (even through the damned small plastic cups), with cocoa, sweet spice and some graphite thrown in the mix. Plenty of fruit on the palate too. Its not powerful (in the knock-you-out-of-the-park-for-six kind of way) but it has weight, texture and persistence on the palate (more like a confident, elegant cover drive seemingly effortlessly reaching the ropes, if you get the comparison). Again, great balance of acidity and fine-grained tannins, framed for the long haul. Utterly compelling, such harmonious elegance and poise. Approach from 2020 and comfortably through 2040.  

Whilst the flagship Diana Madeline needs little introduction, it does carry with it a certain degree of expectation - I am delighted to report that this stupendous 2010 effort cleared them with room to spare. The two Mangans were impressive in their own right and certainly worth a shout-out; particularly for me, both felt well-integrated and showed such balance. Seems to be a thing about these Cullen wines: the sum speaks louder than its parts, yet all in tuneful harmony.