Friday, May 12, 2017

Cullen - New Flagship Wines

What a day Tuesday was for the wine enthusiast in Sydney. There was the Hill of Grace release dinner, and separate tastings of Xanadu, Cape Mentelle, and Cullens: a Maragret River invasion. Spoilt for choice. I went to the Cullen tasting of its flagship wines with the remarkable, but quite shy Vanya Cullen.

The opening act were the current release of the Mangan Vineyard Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc and the Amber wine (reviewed in this blog previously). The Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc was impressive. It was fresh as expected, but also seamless and elegant.

Then came the 2015 Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay. I have in the past not warmed to this wine as a leading Australian Chardonnay brand. However, I enjoyed this vintage. The flavours are complex: citrus, grapefruit, white peach, and almonds. The wine was matured in 73% new oak, which is quite noticeable, but smartly treated. The wine has a precise line, and is penetrating with a long finish.

Is it at Leeuwin's level? Not quite.

Score: 95/++

The 2015 Cullen Diana Madeline has been reviewed a lot already. The points-master and other reviewers have gone to the top drawer as usual. I won't dwell on general descriptors too much. The wine has hints of vibrancy, but is a little closed at present. The bouquet of red and black berries flows onto the palate. The main point I want to make is that this is a more concentrated wine than recent releases with more ripeness and depth of fruit, supported by fine tannins.

I think in a number of years, the power and intensity of the wine will blend with the finesse and elegance in a potentially amazing way. This wine needs to be put away for at least five years. I will not drink it before 10 years.

Score: 96/+++ 

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