Cullen-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot-2019
Cullen-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot-2019

Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019

Sale price$59.95
Wilyabrup, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), Merlot (37%), Cabernet Franc (1%)

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Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2019

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Australia

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Producer: Cullen

Country: Australia

Region: Margaret River

Vintage: 2019

Critic Score: 96

Alcohol: 13.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2025


Exceptional quality at an attainable price. Drinks well or could cellar beautifully for a decade at least - Christina Pickard

Cullen is an iconic Margaret River winery that has been certified as both Organic and Biodynamic since 2004. The 2019 Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is the second label to the Diana Madeline in the Cullen range and is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine is made entirely from grapes sourced from the Cullen family vineyards, 55% Cullen Vineyard and 42% Mangan Vineyard, and was 100% matured in French oak (23% new) for an average of 5 months. 

"So dense and brooding, concentrated, and yet has a lightness and vigour that makes it so appealing. Black fruit, ripe raspberry, cedar and biscuit spice, dark chocolate and violets, bay leaf, with a sort of wet clay/mineral character in the mix. Tannin is firm and silty/slatey, fresh feel despite all that dark chocolate flavour, and the finish is long, with a black tea perfume trailing. Wonderful."  Gary Walsh

"Deep medium red with a purple edge. The nose is beautifully ripe with currants, plums and minerals. The palate has lovely fruit concentration with fine tannins. Ripe plums, cassis and dark chocolate are showing throughout the finish. Cellar: Up to 15 years."  Cullen

Cullen Wines
Cullen Wines (click on image to play video)

Expert reviews

"The wines from this iconic, biodynamic estate always sing of their place. 2019 was a cooler-than-average vintage but one that's winning over this reviewer for the wines' aromatics and elegance. Layered and highly characterful, the nose is floral, like West Aussie wildflowers, and a bit meaty, like the pan scrapings from a roast. The fruit comes in compote form, like freshly canned rhubarb, plum and currant. There's an earthy, savory spine like beet juice, olive brine and cedar shavings. A cool eucalyptus edge adds to the vintage charm. Chiseled, sappy tannins are powerful but leave ample room for flavor. Exceptional quality at an attainable price, this drinks well now with decanter and protein at hand, or could cellar beautifully for a decade at least."  Christina Pickard, Wine Enthusiast – 96 points and editors' Choice

"Of the Australian wines I buy fairly regularly, the list goes something like – Cullen, Tyrrell's, Mount Pleasant, Wendouree, Hoddles Creek, Marius, Mount Mary, and there are others, of course, though these are my mainstays. This is Cabernet Sauvignon 62%, Merlot 37% and 1% Cabernet Franc.

So dense and brooding, concentrated, and yet has a lightness and vigour that makes it so appealing. Black fruit, ripe raspberry, cedar and biscuit spice, dark chocolate and violets, bay leaf, with a sort of wet clay/mineral character in the mix. Tannin is firm and silty/slatey, fresh feel despite all that dark chocolate flavour, and the finish is long, with a black tea perfume trailing. Wonderful. Drink 2022 - 2030+."  Gary Walsh, The Wine Front - 95 points

"Deep red/purple hue, with very attractive, lifted aromatics of violets, blue and red fruits, the palate full-bodied and firm in abundant tannins. The persistent grip could be challenging in its market price-point. Definitely, a wine to be served with hearty protein-rich food. An impressive wine in its station and very much like a junior Diana Madeline, albeit a little more straightforward. Great value! Drink: 2022–2034."  Huon Hooke, The Real Review - 93 points

Organic/biodynamic

Cullen Vineyard

The combination of firstly organic, and subsequently biodynamic viticulture at Cullen Wines provides the opportunity for the land to exist at its full potential, thereby nurturing vines to produce their best and most individual grapes. Vanya Cullen has pushed the limits of biodynamic practices in every facet of the business and the yield of the estate vineyards has soared.  All Cullen Wines are grown on a certified Biodynamic, Carbon Neutral and naturally powered estate.

Organic Viticulture

Since 1971 when the Cullen Vineyard was planted, chemical intervention was minimal and the family's concern for the environment paramount. In 1998 the change to total organic viticulture was made. Organics is about soil health and Diana and Vanya went intuitively towards healing the soil by putting back what had been taken out. Organic farming promotes biological activity, which converts plant and animal residue into stable humus. This in turn increases the soil's ability to retain moisture and provide a reserve of nutrients. The Cullen vineyards were certified A Grade Organic in 2003. 

Biodynamic Viticulture 

In 2003, whilst attending a Biodynamic Conference, Vanya Cullen decided that Biodynamics would add further to the holistic and natural approach to both vineyard and winemaking. Biodynamics builds on organic farming to make all organic processes work more efficiently and effectively. 

Biodynamic viticulture is a philosophy combining the maintenance of sustainable soil fertility and the recognition of the link between plant growth and the rhythms of the cosmos.  Moon rhythms strongly influence life on earth life. As tides rise and fall in a pulsing rhythm, so does the sap of plants and all other liquids including those within the earth's mantle. Viticultural practices are conducted according to these moon rhythms. The position of the moon in relation to the planets is critical in determining the optimal time to plant. 

In addition, the difference between organic and biodynamic is the use of biodynamic preparations 500 and 501, with 502-508 also being used. Preparation 500 is cow horns filled with cow manure which helps the soil develop humus and attracts earthworms and micro organisms. Preparation 501 is cow horns filled with quartz crystals which aids photosynthesis and the uptake of minerals in the soil. 

In 2004 the Cullen vineyards were certified A Grade Biodynamic.

Vanya Cullen discusses biodynamics
Vanya Cullen discusses biodynamics
     (click on image to play video)

About the winery

Cullen Wines

In 1948, Dr Kevin John Cullen and his wife Diana Madeline Cullen purchased their property in Wilyabrup, which is in the heart of Margaret River. In early 1965 they started considering other uses for their sheep and cattle farm. They decided to plant lupins, so invited Dr John Gladstones (who had studied lupins in his post-graduate research) to visit their property. Dr Gladstones had also put considerable work and research into the suitability of growing vines in southwestern Australia and, according to Diana, upon seeing their land said "Oh, you're mad growing cattle and sheep, why don't you grow grapes?"

Dr Gladstones described Wilyabrup as being the sweet spot of the Margaret River region, most favourable for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1966 he published his now-famous report which compared the climate and soils of Margaret River to that of Bordeaux. Many regard him as the founder of the Margaret River wine region. 

In 1971 Kevin and Diana Cullen made the decision to plant 18 acres of vines on the land, including their first Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Further plantings were made over the subsequent decades. The mature 28-hectare dry grown vineyard still operates today and the grapes for all the Cullen wines are sourced from here and the adjacent Mangan Vineyard which was planted in 1995.

While Kevin Cullen worked as a doctor to support the business, Diana Cullen supervised and managed the winery and became Chief Winemaker in 1981. Diana made history in 1982 by being the first woman to win a trophy at the Perth Royal Show. Kevin passed away in 1994 and Diana in 2003, and the Cullen flagship wines are now named in their honour; the Kevin John Chardonnay and Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. Both Kevin and Diana have been awarded life membership with the Margaret River Wine Industry Association, and in 2003 the WA Wine Industry Association introduced the annual Diana Madeline Cullen Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the WA Wine Industry in her honour.

In 1983 Diana was joined by daughter Vanya Cullen, who took over the reign as Chief Winemaker in 1989 and was also appointed Managing Director in 1999. With Vanya at the helm, the quality of the wine is paramount and every step taken in the vineyard and in the winemaking is geared to that aim. The quality of Cullen Wines comes in the main from the vineyard - the wines can only be as good as the grapes. To realise the full potential of the vineyard, Vanya has embraced organic and biodynamic viticultural practices and the vineyards were certified A Grade Organic in 2003 and A Grade Biodynamic in 2004. 

The process of making the wine involves handling the fruit as little and as gently as possible. Practices such as hand harvesting, minimal fruit transport, sorting of the fruit before crushing, minimal wine movement, minimal fining for the whites, no fining for the reds and minimal filtration are employed. The wines mostly make themselves, with little or no intervention; which means the use of indigenous yeast, no additions of any kind and minimal oak use and fining.

Vanya Cullen received the "Australian Winemaker of the Year" award from Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine in 2000 and was voted "Woman of the Year" by UK based wine magazine The Drinks Business in 2008, becoming the first Australian to receive the award. Vanya was also awarded Halliday Wine Companion's winemaker of the year in 2020.

Cullen became the first vineyard and winery in Australia to be certified carbon positive, starting the process in 2006. Vanya Cullen is also on the board of the "Days of Change" program, which aims to help Western Australian people and businesses live and operate in a more sustainable way.

2021 marked a half-century for the brand and with it a celebration of the Cullen Wines legacy. "This year we celebrate 50 years of Cullen Wines – 50 years of sustainable wine growing preceded by 65,000 years of Wadandi sustainable land care,” says Vanya. "Over that time we've been supported by generous people with a wonderful spirit of camaraderie and warmth of spirit, and we are so grateful.”

Cullen Winery and the Margaret River Sub Regions

Cullen Winery and the Margaret River Sub Regions
wine region map of australia

Western Australia

Western Australia is home to more than 400 wineries across nine vast and extraordinary wine regions which are almost entirely concentrated in the south-west and great southern land divisions of the State. The regions are Blackwood Valley, Geographe, Great Southern, Peel, Pemberton, Manjimup, Margaret River and Swan District.

The oldest region is the Swan Valley, the best known both nationally and internationally is Margaret River and the largest is Great Southern. The Great Southern region is further divided into the five subregions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongurup.

The history of wine production in Western Australia dates back to 1840 with the establishment of Sandalford in the Swan Valley region. The recognition of the fine wine possibilities started to be realised after the establishment of the Margaret River Region in 1967, which has become renowned for its high quality Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The other regions produce a diverse range of regionally distinct wines, from stunning Rieslings and evocative Shiraz, to a range of unique Cabernet Sauvignon blends.