Tasting notes: Cullen Wines of Margaret River in WA

Outstanding organic and biodynamic wines from a carbon neutral winery

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Vanya Cullen and family

Vanya Cullen and family [©Ben Johnson]

Cullen Wines Diane Madeline 2017
Cullen Wines Mangan East Block 2018
Vanya Cullen Winemaker of the Year Halliday Wine Companion Awards 2019
Cullen Wines Red Moon 2017 MV


Cullen Wines in Western Australia's Margaret River region is widely recognised and respected for its sustainable practices.

Winemaker, Vanya Cullen, was recently awarded Winemaker of the Year by the Halliday Wine Companion 2020 and has just been announced as Winemaker of the Year in the 2019 Australian Women in Wine Awards (announced 18 Sept).

Vanya has been committed to biodynamics since its arrival in the 1980s and as James Halliday says "As an early mover, she had to deal with brash naysayers, such as myself..." . Needless to say her calm determination and strong beliefs have since won over Mr Halliday!

It has been a steady and measured path from being managed organically in 1998 to achieving A Grade Organic Certification in 2003 fiollowed by biodynamic certification in 2004. The neighbouring Mangan Vineyard wasn't far behind in 2008.

Cullen Wines has continued as a regional (and national) trailblazer going on to become Australia's first cerfified carbon neutral winery in July 2019.

Read more about Cullen Wines' philosophy here »

And then there are the resulting outstanding wines...


2017 Mangan Vineyard Red Moon

Vintage and background:  a red moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the light filtering through the earth’s atmosphere dapples the moon in red light. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on the 11th of February 2017 during harvest. Fruit from the Mangan Vineyard was hand harvested, fermented naturally and basket pressed to French oak.

Cullen Wines has been very successful in meeting its aim of producing a wine which, while fruit driven, is of such high quality that it will develop for several years under good cellaring conditions.

This wine was made from a carefully selected blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot grown on the Mangan Vineyard, which has been shown to be ideally suited to nurturing these grape varieties.

Tasting notes: the wine is a medium red colour with ruiby tinges. The bouquet is of plum, cherries with lifted floral notes. On the palate it is medium bodied with darkcherries, blueberries and savoury notes on the finish.

Vineyard: 100% Mangan vineyard

Varieities: 57% Malbec, 37% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot.

Oak: 9 months in French oak with 10% the barrels being new.

Cellaring: at least 10 years.

Alc/Vol: 12.0%

RRP: A$30 bottle (direct from winery)


 2017 Diana Madeline

Vintage and background: The length of the 2017 vintage gave the grapes time to develop aromatics and flavours not found in the shorter, warmer seasons. Diana Madeline Cullen always liked the cooler seasons for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially the 1982. The cooler vintages make wines of great elegance and longevity.

The 1982 Cabernet Merlot (as it was known then) last day of harvest was the 22nd of April, versus the 12th of April for the 2017 vintage.

A great tribute to the biodynamic farming, shining even in the unusual vintages.

Tasting notes: Bright, deep purple in colour with a bouquet of fantastic complexity and lvibrancy with layers of dark fruits complimented by some herbal notes. On the palatye it is elegant and poised. A silky palate delivering blueberry, currant notes and some cacao bitterness. Another fantastic vintage for our flagship and to be enjoyed over the next few decades.

Vineyard: 100% Cullen vineyard

Varieties: 81% Cabernet Sauvignon | 10% Merlot | 6% Petit Verdot | 3% Malbec

Oak: aged for 18 months in barriques of which 40% were new.


  • Exceptional - James Halliday Wine Companion 2020
  • Max Allen: "it’s hard to imagine a more perfectly balanced cabernet merlot blend – perfumed, elegant, fine, long. In fact, it tastes so effortless and refined that it’s easy to overlook the concentration of blackcurrant and ironstone flavours lurking at its core, waiting to unfurl as the wine matures in the cellar".  See further reviews »

Cellaring: 30 plus years.

Alc/vol: 13%

RRP A$129 (direct from winery)


 2018 Mangan East Block (new release)

Vintage and background: this quality wine was produced on a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate. The grapes were harvested from the prime selections of the eastern blocks of the Mangan vineyard, as usual showcasing the best of the specific season.  It was naturally fermented, basket pressed and then matured for 5 months in French oak of which 45% was new.

Tasting notes: a bright deep purple in colour, this wine has a captivating bouquet of violet, blueberries and spicy notes. The palate is structured with deep blueberry fruit and ripe cherries. Petit Verdot component carrying the wine with some earthy and chocolatey notes.

Vineyard: 100% Mangan vineyard.

Varitieties: 54% Malbec and 46% Petit Verdot.

Oak: 5 months in French oak, of which 45% were new.

Food match: Margaret River Venison with charred root vegetables.

Cellaring: at least 10 years.

Alc/vol: 13.4%

RRP: A$45.00 bottle (direct from winery)


2017 Kevin John Chardonnay

Vintage and background: 2017 turned out to be another great season for our vineyards and our 1976 Chardonnay vines produced some incredible fruit. Very low yields of 3.2 tonne/hectare. This is a wine defined by great purity, elegance and a fantastic acid backbone: a vintage destined for great ageing potential. The Chardonnay grapes were as usual hand harvested then whole bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast in different vessels: barriques, amphorae and ceramic egg. It underwent natural malolactic fermentation prior to receiving 5 months of French oak maturation of which 30% was new..

Tasting notes: a brilliant pale gold in colour, this wine has has perfumed with notes of pears, white flowers and citrus which are lifted by the barrel ageing. On the palate it is very fine and already complex, combining Anjou pear, white nectarine and some almond notes. Wonderfully balanced by the natural acid structure

Vineyard: 100% Cullen vineyard.

Varitieties: 100% Chardonnay

Oak: 100% for 5 months in French oak of which 30% was new. A combination of barriques and puncheons were selected for the barrel treatment.

Food match: Grilled Hapuka, heirloom cauliflower, grapefruit.

Cellaring: drink now or cellar with confidence for at least 10 years.

Accolades: Max Allen: "...exquisitely precise, intensely flavoured and endless, it is a classic modern Australian chardonnay."   See further reviews »

Alc/vol: 13.5%

RRP: A$127 bottle (direct from winery).




  • Margaret River (WA)

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