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2014 Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Blend

Cracka Rating

Cracka Review

Cullen continues to be one of the very best producers in the Margaret River region producing stellar wines using biodynamic practices. You’ll find amazing fruit and terroir expression in all their wines and this Cabernet blend is a lovely rendition of the region’s favoured red blend. This is lifted with black fruits, a touch of violet and pepper before deliciously smooth Merlot fruit fills out the mid-palate and Cabernet provides structure. This wine is beautifully held together by soft tannins, making it an ideal match for a lamb roast.

Winemaker's Notes

Colour: Deep crimson hues with magenta edges

Bouquet: Fantastic complexity and vitality with layers of well ripened dark fruits enhanced by gorgeous leafy notes

Palate: Structured and fruit driven, the palate presents blackcurrant fruit and lovely spicy nuances finishing with fine grained tannins. Subtle layers of complexity arise from fruit harvested at the pinnacle of ripeness

Varieties: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc

Cellar: 30 plus years

Alc/vol: 13.5%

expert reviews about

2014 Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Blend

Expert Reviews

James Halliday (2014 Vintage) says
89% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petit verdot, 3% merlot and 2% each of malbec and cabernet franc blended after fermentation, hand-picked and sorted, destemmed (66% whole berries), wild-fermented in stainless steel, average 23 days on skins, matured in French oak (69% new) for 18 months. Right in the slot of the style established (with some polishing and refining) over the years. The complexity of the texture and structure is second to none, led by the born to rule cabernet, the other varieties obviously of minor importance, but important nonetheless. The might of the tannins is the key to this great wine.
Drink by 2044
98
Gary Walsh (2014 Vintage) says
Ripe red cherry, blackcurrant and redcurrant, baking spices, violet and mint perfume, perfect mocha oak in support. Medium bodied, fresh and vibrant, bursting with small berried fruit, a fine spread of pitch perfect graphite tannin, clean acid line, beautiful mouth-perfume, and a savoury tobacco laced finish of soaring length. Pulsating with life and Cabernet purity. A worthy sibling to the monumental 2012 vintage.
2024 - 2050
97
James Halliday (2013 Vintage) says
A bright crimson 73/20/7% blend of cabernet, merlot and franc, aged for an average of 17 months in French barriques (60% new). There is no doubt this is Cullen's greatest wine, and one of Australia's greatest cabernet blends, the only real competition coming from other Margaret River blends. The bouquet is perfumed, the palate fluid and graceful, notwithstanding the intensity of its cassis et al fruits which give the wine its awesome length, fine tannins its balance.
To 2043
Wine Companion
98
The Wine Front (2013 Vintage) says
Cabernet blend from a pretty handy vintage in Margaret River. Cabernet sauvignon (73%), merlot (20%), cabernet franc (7%). I wouldn’t say that it whispers but it certainly doesn’t scream its quality. It’s an ‘old money’ kind of style; it takes quality in its stride, as a given, with poise and without much apparent effort. The result is that it’s pretty easy to take. Velvety blackcurrant, croons of creamy oak, straps of dry licorice, peppercorn and dusty gravelly notes. Tannin is seamless but certain. The kind of balance that comes when strength runs deep through the core. 96 points.
The Wine Front July 2015
96
Tyson Stelzer (2011 Vintage) says
The marvels of superfine graphite structure, euphoric fragrance and enduring longevity achieved in the Cullen vineyard at just 12.5% alcohol are without precedent anywhere in the country. The sheer tannin shape of this wine is mesmerising, with enduring grip that will sustain it for at least three decades, yet the epitome of finesse and unashamedly medium-bodied. The clarity of violet perfume and depth of pristine red- and blackcurrants is faultless, perfectly framed in tobacco leaf, cedar, coffee bean and high cocoa dark chocolate. For the record, 80% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 4% malbec, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot – but I challenge you to spot any seam in its composition. One of the greatest and longest-lived Diana Madelines.
http://tysonstelzer.com/ 2013
98
Jeremy Oliver (2011 Vintage) says
Very elemental, this floral and lightly herbal cabernet blend has a delicate floral and cedary bouquet whose delicate aromas of small black and red berries and cherries reveal a meaty edge. It's medium to full-bodied, and after a long aeration steadily reveals more depth and darkness of fruit as it slowly sheds some of the herbal, underbrush-like aspects that tend towards greenness and edginess when first opened. Supported by a fine, drying backbone, its bright forest berry/cherry/flavours gradually build weight and density towards the finish. Likely to age in a classical, cigarboxy fashion.
The Australian Wine Annual 2014 Edition 2014
94
Tyson Stelzer (2011 Vintage) says
The marvels of superfine graphite structure, euphoric fragrance and enduring longevity achieved in the Cullen vineyard at just 12.5% alcohol are without precedent anywhere in the country. The sheer tannin shape of this wine is mesmerising, with enduring grip that will sustain it for at least three decades, yet the epitome of finesse and unashamedly medium-bodied. The clarity of violet perfume and depth of pristine red- and blackcurrants is faultless, perfectly framed in tobacco leaf, cedar, coffee bean and high cocoa dark chocolate. For the record, 80% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 4% malbec, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot – but I challenge you to spot any seam in its composition. One of the greatest and longest-lived Diana Madelines.  Tyson Stelzer, 26 July 2013
Tyson Stelzer, 26 July 2013.
98
Tyson Stelzer (2010 Vintage) says
2010 DM makes a vital statement: its phenomenal predecessor was no fluke. At thirty-nine years of age and privileged to fanatical biodynamic care, the Cullen vineyard is in a remarkable place indeed. At a tantalising 13.0% alcohol, elegance meets the strictest definition. Utterly enticing, profoundly pure, effortlessly seamless and earth-shakingly long-lived. Margaret River graphite, high cocoa dark chocolate texture and gravelly tannins support pin-point exact violet and blackcurrant fruit. For the record, 77% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 6% petit verdot, 4% malbec and 3% cabernet franc – but such is its seamless coherence, you’d never know it was a blend. Diana would be proud.
2025 - 2040
Wine Taste Edition 65
97
James Halliday (2010 Vintage) says
A 77/10/6/4/3% blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, malbec and cabernet franc. Confident with the quality of her biodynamically grown estate grapes, Vanya Cullen is taking a gently gently approach with all aspects of the wine. Thus it is medium-bodied at best, but is perfectly balanced and its array of blackcurrant, redcurrant, earth and spice fruit flavours are clearly varietal. Above all else, it is certain the wine will develop beautifully over the next 20-30 years. Since first tasted in Feb '12, its effortless elegance has come to the fore, its medium-bodied elegance setting it in a league of its own.
2040
James Halliday's Top 100 wines of 2012
96
Nick Stock (2010 Vintage) says
The 2010 is roughly three-quarters cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 6% petit verdot, 4% malbec and 3% cabernet franc _ all five Bordeaux red grapes getting a say here. The net result, though, is a beautifully phrased wine that delivers immense concentration and elegance, an array of red and blue fruit aromas, sensitively judged oak and a lovely, leafy regional thread here. The palate s supple and juicy, bright and elegant; chalky, fine tannins hold fresh red berry flavour and there s a juicy, long and deceptively powerful finish at work here. Another superb Diana.
2020
Good Wine Guide
96
Jeremy Oliver (2010 Vintage) says
A wonderfully complete, elegant and willowy wine of exuberant brightness, freshness and exemplary balance. Its deep pristine perfume of violets, cassis, mulberries, dark cherries is tightly knit with fresh cedar/chocolate/ vanilla oak. Medium to full-bodied, it's deeply layered with pristine flavours of small berries, briar and nuances of dried herbs, underpinned by dusty, gravelly tannins, steadily building power and intensity before finishing long, supple and silky.
2030-2040
The Australian Wine Annual 2013
97
Ray Jordan (2010 Vintage) says
For a number of years now this has been one of Australia’s greatest wines and this vintage is once again back up there. The combination of terroir, early picking, biodynamics, aged vines and sympathetic winemaking makes such a strong statement. Slightly more robust than recent previous vintages and as such may prove an even great crowd pleaser. It is a stunning blend of all five Bordeaux varieties. Silky, effortless and graceful. Will cellar for decades.
25 years
WA Wine Guide 2013
98
Mike Bennie (2010 Vintage) says
A very firm, structural wine that shows stiff, suede tannins framing a medium boiled, dark fruited core. There's a dusting of savouriness and a twiggy character that is a suggestion of both the 19 months of French oak maturation and savouriness of the blend. It's austere, but superbly formed. Cellar long.
Australia's Wine Business Magazine February
96
Tyson Stelzer (2009 Vintage) says
Say what you will about biodynamics, but Cullen’s six most recent releases average an uncontested 95/100 on my score sheet. DM is the queen, and in 09 she has ascended to hitherto unknown heights of restraint. At just 12.5% alcohol she is no blockbuster, but more elegantly poised and yet impeccably ripe than ever. Crunchy blackcurrant, violets, dust, coffee, tobacco, tomato and a wistful hint of the sea all lie in coiled suspense under the surface, with oak sitting dutifully in the background. An immaculately crafted DM that will go down among the greatest and longest-lived yet.
Wine Taste - Edition 23 2011
98
Jeremy Oliver (2009 Vintage) says
Quite a superlative wine, beautifully balanced, measured and focused, already revealing remarkable complexity and character. A pristine, floral and heady bouquet of violets, cassis, dark cherries and blackberries knit with cedar/vanilla oak and backed by nuances of briar and hints of meaty complexity precedes an unctuous, long and seamless palate that remains gentle and willowy. Underpinned by fine, powdery al dente tannin, it's deeply layered and flavoured, finishing with remarkable balance.
The Australian Wine Annual 2012
98
Ray Jordan (2009 Vintage) says
The remarkable thing about this wine is that for all its finesse, elegance and subtlety there is immense staying power on the medium weight palate. This was a great vintage in Margaret River and the precise purity of the fruit simply bursts from the glass. The tannins are ripe and firm and there is ample backbone and structure. It's a wine that will continue to evolve and reveal more of itself as it ages. Brilliant.
The West Australian Wine Guide 2012
98
Nick Stock (2009 Vintage) says
This elegant 2009 Diana Madeline is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (88%), cabernet franc (6%), merlot (4%) and malbec (2%), and it's one of the most elegant of the top-tier Margaret River reds. It starts with a distinct herbal streak on the nose - ripe cassis fruit is at the core. With aromas of leaves and gravel, it's very much in the regional zone. The palate has deep, sweet tannins that sit in an even, elegant shape with freshness, concentration and elegance; there's genuine light and shade throughout, and a thread of toasty oak. The journey to concentrated elegance continues here.
The Good Wine Guide 2012
96
James Halliday (2009 Vintage) says
The usual complex blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Malbec, wild yeast-fermented and matured for 13 months in French oak. It has excellent colour, and is made in the 'new' medium-bodied Cullen style; the texture is silky, and the tannins are not the least aggressive, making it a very elegant and fresh wine that will doubtless age for as long as you wish.
Australian Wine Companion 2013 2012
95
James Halliday (2008 Vintage) says
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot was picked at precisely the point Vanya Cullen decided the grapes - and in particular the tannins Ñ had reached optimum ripeness. That, plus a sophisticated mistral blower on a sorting table removing leaf fragments and infertile berries, and a return to a basket press, have all combined to produce an extremely refined and elegant wine that is quite different to some of the earlier Cullen Cabernet Merlots. It shines with its length, finish and aftertaste.
Australian Wine Companion 2012 2011
96
Ray Jordan (2008 Vintage) says
What a difference a year makes. The previous outstanding 07 was wine of the year for me last year with its opulence and fruit lushness. This wine is no less extraordinary yet it is different. The structure is tighter and slightly firmer, the fruit slightly more elegant and refined an d the palate, unbelievably Ð longer. A great wine that must be the benchmark for the blend in Australia.
Ray Jordan's 2011 WA Wine Guide 2011
98
Nick Stock (2007 Vintage) says
Easily the best young Diana Madeline I've had the pleasure of tasting on release, this wears all the bounty of a great vintage, experience, and a mature vineyard that's meticulously farmed. Fragrant roasting herbs that pin it to the heart of Margaret River's great terroir, sweet leafy cabernet aromas, fragrant and impeccably fresh purple berry fruits. The palate is super-smooth with round, supple texture and masses of ripe berry fruit flavour, really curvy and delicious. Oak spice moves in through the finish, as does dark cherry pip flavour and gravelly savoury flavours, it's deceptively concentrated with an essence-like intensity that completely occupies the palate - polished, poised and authentically Cullen in every regard.
Now to 2025
The Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide 2010
97
James Halliday (2007 Vintage) says
This is as close to perfection as one can imagine in terms of structure, texture and its complex fruit flavours. Great now, greater still in another 10 years, and who knows how long thereafter. Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot.
To 2032
Australian Wine Companion 2011
97
Rob Geddes MW (2007 Vintage) says
Rather than upfront fruit, a more subtle old-world texture with very fine tannins contributing to the potential and the finish across this very consistent style.
2025
Australian Wine Vintages
95
Ray Jordan (2007 Vintage) says
What a fabulous wine. The only reason I haven't pointed higher is that I suspect there a couple of even better wines in the pipeline. It's a wine of elegance, poise and style with an effortlessly long and silky fine palate. Powerful palate held in check for now but with cellaring will emerge into something truly exceptional. One of the finest yet in this distinguished line.
Ray Jordan's 2010 WA Wine Guide
98
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2007 Vintage) says
It's one of the most elite cabernet wines in the country. This year's blend is made up of cabernet sauvignon (84 percent), merlot (8 percent), cabernet franc (4 percent) and petit verdot (4 percent). One of the interesting things about the 2007 Margaret River cabernet is that the wines generally aren't thick or ballsy or robust, but they are beautifully ripe and balanced. This wine has a lightness of touch, a natural sense of acidity, and strides long and sure through the finish. It has flavours of bright mulberry and blackcurrant with a pleasant leanness that's both cabernet and regional, and then tasteful, cedary, vanilla oak in support. It makes quality look easy.
2019-2030
The Big Red Wine Book 2010/11
95
James Halliday (2005 Vintage) says
As ever, has fine but persistent tannins running from the fore-palate through to the finish; the deep and intense fruit will sustain the wine until those tannins loosen their grip. All five Bordeaux varieties present led by Cabernet Sauvignon (75%).
To 2018
Australian Wine Companion 2009
96
Ken Gargett (2005 Vintage) says
I know what you're thinking: dbwwm is supposed to be a value guide. Bad enough he included that ridiculous Burgundy—but an Aussie red pushing $100? Does he think we're Bill Gates? Fair enough; and I tried hard to resist but in the end, I knew I couldn't live with myself if I left out this brilliant wine. It's perhaps our best cabernet; it's why Cullen is seen as one of the great Aussie wineries. You want a special wine, this is it. And you'll think it's a bargain.
Don't Buy Wine Without Me 2008
96
Jeremy Oliver (2005 Vintage) says
Wow! Elegance meets structure, meets sophistication. Scented with violets and sweet cedary new oak, its perfume of small red and black berries, dark cherries reveals complex earthy undertones with a hint of gravel. Full to medium in body but steeped with vibrant flavours of dark berries, and cherries, its seductively smooth but opulent palate revels in its marriage of fruit, oak and firm, Graves-like chalky tannin. Exceptionally long and perfectly harmonious, it's both polished and powerful, with a brilliant future.
2025-2035
Australian Wine Annual 2008
97
Campbell Mattinson (2005 Vintage) says
One of the undisputed champions of Australian wine. It's grown on a biodynamically run vineyard in the heart of the Margaret River wine region. This 2005 is the best since the 2001. 2005 RELEASE A tall, dark, handsome wine. As has become the norm for Cullen cabernet merlot, it's also wrapped in strong arms of tannin; it makes the wine seem statuesque in the mouth. It's perfumed, curranty, bold with cigar-box fragrance and musky, plummy and chocolaty through both the mid-palate and finish. There's the odd high note of eucalyptus. This is a great wine, but it needs years in a cool, dark place to soften and evolve, DRINK 2018-2027.
2018 - 2027
The Big Red Wine Book
95
Rob Geddes MW (2005 Vintage) says
Rather than upfront fruit, a more subtle old-world texture with very fine tannins contributing to the potential and the finish across this very consistent style.
2030
Australian Wine Vintages
94
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2005 Vintage) says
Arms of tannin, body of luscious flavour
2018-2027
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10
95
James Halliday (2004 Vintage) says
Excellent hue and depth; a complex, medium- to full-bodied web of texture and flavour; perfectly balanced oak and tannins supporting blackcurrant fruit; long finish.
2019
Australian Wine Companion 2007
95
Jeremy Oliver (2004 Vintage) says
An extremely elegant but powerfully constructed cabernet blend whose alluring fragrance reveals layer after layer of dark berries, black cherries, cranberries, plums and dark chocolate/vanilla oak. Its profoundly intense expression of bright cherry/berry fruit reveals classical notes of dried herbs and superlative oak, all framed by chalky, drying and faintly bony tannins. First-rate length and structure, with a persistent core of pristine flavour.
2024-2034
Australian Wine Annual 2007
97
Jeremy Oliver (2003 Vintage) says
A deeply fruited, finely balanced, firm and long-living cabernet blend. Its alluring, dark perfume of violets, cassis, mulberries, dark cherries and blood plums is supported by fragrant and fine-grained chocolate/vanilla and cedary oak, with undertones of forest floor. Satiny soft, its plush palate of juicy small berry and cherry flavour is framed by firm, powdery tannins and backed by smooth, polished chocolate oak. Charming, spotlessly clean and beautifully measured.
2015-2023
Australian Wine Annual 2006
95
Rob Geddes MW (2003 Vintage) says
Rather than upfront fruit, a more subtle old-world texture with very fine tannins contributing to the potential and the finish across this very consistent style.
2013
Australian Wine Vintages
94
Jeremy Oliver (2002 Vintage) says
Restrained, supple and elegant cooler season cabernet blend with a spicy, petit verdot-driven aroma of dark plums, mulberries, cassis and violets, supported by lightly smoky and fine-grained cedar/mocha oak. There's a dusty whiff of herbaceousness and mint, also present beneath the fine, but surprisingly firm palate. Dark olives and small berry fruits, green pepper and creamy oak are framed by fine-grained but grippy tannins, finishing long but a fraction closed. Should develop more charm and complexity with time.
2014-2022
Australian Wine Annual 2005
95
Ray Jordan (2001 Vintage) says
A fitting tribute to the great lady of Margaret River. This awesome statement of cabernet and merlot seems almost incongruous if measured against the frail I Cullen of her later years. Still as with the lady herself there is style, class and great inner strength that drives it to classic proportions. Still tight and restrained when tasted and clearly there are years ahead of it.
Ray Jordan's 2004 WA Wine Guide
95
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2001 Vintage) says
Strong, rich, tight
2015-2025
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10
96
Jeremy Oliver (2001 Vintage) says
2013-2021+
The Australian Wine Annual 2014 Edition
97
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2000 Vintage) says
Silken, curranty, tight
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10 2009
95
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (1999 Vintage) says
Pure, powerful, structured
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10 2009
96

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