Cullen Diana Madeline 2019

At the very top of the quality and ethical tree you might drink wine from the biodynamically certified vineyards of Cullen from Margaret River TIM WHITE

One of the pioneers of Margaret River, and has always produced long-lived wines of highly individual style from the mature estate vineyards….Winemaking is in the hands of Vanya Cullen, daughter of the founders; she is possessed of an extraordinarily good palate and generosity to the cause of fine wine. JAMES HALLIDAY

A decade ago I was very privileged to attend a Cabernet benchmark blind tasting of 20 of the world’s best Cabernets from Bordeaux, the Napa Valley, Tuscany, Chile, South Africa and Australia.

Later, when the wines were revealed, there were some serious heavy hitters in the line-up including wines from Chateau Margaux, Tenuta San Guido and Napa Valley’s Spotteswood. However, aside from the mesmerising Chateau Margaux, there was one wine which really struck me from the outset. It was immensely powerful and deep, yet somehow remained delicate, graceful and supple. The tannins were incredibly fine and filigree-like and yet were densely packed in and it was clear this was a wine built to last for decades.

This wine would later be revealed as the 2009 Cullen Diana Madeline which has since become a wine which I consistently benchmark Australian cabernet by. So it is fitting that now a decade on that I am able to offer you an opportunity to purchase what I believe is Australia’s greatest cabernet based wine.

So what has changed in the last decade? Well since 2009 Vanya Cullen has taken this humble Margaret River estate to new heights and has been recognised, again, recently with her Halliday Winemaker of the Year award in 2020. The 2019 vintage also marks the 30th year Vanya has held the role as Chief Winemaker at the estate. An impressive achievement in anyone’s books. There are few, if any, winemakers on top of their piece of dirt as Vanya Cullen is.

Her long standing commitment to biodynamics and sustainability at the estate is paying dividends where it counts most too, in the bottle, with the most thrilling wines to date being produced in recent years. The stars have aligned for Cullen, and likely the moon too if you get into Vanya’s deeper takes on biodynamics.

The short answer though…a decade on and Diana Madeline has never been better. Its effortless power has remained, but the wines in recent vintages have never been more complex and complete. Paired with a seemingly endless run of near perfect vintages in Margaret River, this is a wine that is as sure a bet as you can achieve in Australia