Western Suburbs Weekly, 13th August 2013
IN 1995, James Halliday wrote an article stating that the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay was Australia’s greatest wine. Halliday went on to say that the Leeuwin Estate Art Series chardonnays were perhaps even superior to the Penfolds Grange Hermitage in the Australian quality rating because vintage to vintage they were more consistent. There are many other wine writers who concur and also believe that Leeuwin Estate has consistently produced many of Australia’s great ever wines – white or red. However, on May 5 Vanya Cullen (winemaker at Cullen winery) hosted a tasting of 30 vintages of Cullen Diana Madeline ranging from the 1983 vintage to 2011. The 1997 and ’98 vintages showed a complete and welcome softening change in the Cullen tannin management program. Since then – and certainly since 2001 – it is clear that the Cullen Diana Madeline range has now taken over as Australia’s most consistent great wine. “I have never before given so many high scores to the wines of one label from one producer in a 10-year period. I have given higher points than any of these to two Leeuwin Art Series chardonnays in this period (2001 and 2002 at 19.1 points and 19.2pts each) but there is no question that Cullen Diana Madeline is now Australia’s most consistent great wine – of either colour,” writes John Jens. The Cullen Diana Madeline 2011 (80 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 12 per cent merlot, 4 per cent Malbec, 3 per cent cabernet franc and 1 per cent petit verdot) has
just been released. Of 2011, the Wilyabrup cabernet makers believe that this will be one of their greatest ever vintages and the Cullen Diana Madeline certainly lives up to the expectations. “This is full flavoured with mouth-filling volumes of soft long fruit. The tannins are soft and ripe. The fruit is placid and long – it is dense and seamless and so easily drinkable now. Texturally spectacular. Brilliant finish and aftertaste.” This will be another 18.9-19pt wine and will live well beyond 2030. $115. This wine also received a whopping 98pts from Australian wine writer Tyson Stelzer.