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2017 Diana Madeline
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.
2017 Vintage Report
It was a surprise and joy beyond our expectations to experience the 2017 harvest. I think it’s fair to say that it was challenging in both the vineyard and winery, however such conditions have delivered great rewards! Spanning three months, harvest commenced with Cullen Chardonnay on the 8th February, a Moon Opposite Saturn flower day. The last harvests being the Mangan Vineyard Malbec and Petit Verdot, the dates coinciding with the full moon and flower days on the 11th and 12th of April.
It was a classic, traditional wet winter, followed by slightly cooler than average spring and summer temperatures. This allowed for excellent canopy growth, good slow accumulation of flavour and ripeness in the fruit, maintaining well composed acidity, resulting in brilliantly balanced fruit, naturally. Excellent yields across all varieties were equally matched to quality. We were hoping for better quantities of grapes with quality to match and after three years of tiny yields we finally had the quantities we were hoping for.
The 2016-17 growing season, had above average rainfall for the calendar year, 1070mm, up 17% on average, and slightly cooler, below average temperatures for the spring and summer of the 2017 vintage.
Bud-burst dates were on par, however cold and stormy weather in October contributed to a slow start. Fine conditions in November, with below average rainfall and above average temperatures, allowed the growing season to really get going, veraison only slightly delayed.
Above average rainfall for the month of March 2017, with rain falling on over 30% of the days for the month made harvest decisions tricky. However, below average rainfall and fine weather for the month of April supplied a nice finish for the 2017 vintage. We had three moon opposite Saturn events (one each month). I would say that it was a great vintage for all varieties but in particular chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.
2017 was a vintage of great quality and quantity.
Colour: Bright deep purple.
Bouquet: Fantastic complexity and vibrancy with layers of dark fruits complimented by some herbal notes.
Palate: Elegant and poised: 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.
Cellar: 30 plus years.
Vineyard: 100% Cullen Vineyard.
Varieties: 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec.
Harvest: 12th March to 12th April 2017.
Oak: Aged for 18 months in barriques of which 40% were new.
I have tasted this wine twice recently on separate occasions and been extremely impressed both times: 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. $129
Max Allen Drinks columnist Australian Financial Review Aug 9, 2019 — 5.55am