2018 Diana Madeline
These old vine Cabernet Sauvignon Houghton clones (8 different clones) were planted in 1971 on their own roots and are destined for the flagship wine Diana Madeline.
2018 produced small yields, being 5.88 tonnes per hectare of Cabernet Sauvignon from certified biodynamic, carbon negative fruit. This has created a natural wine with elegance, balance and power.
The 2018 Diana Madeline was harvested over the fruit and flower days of the biodynamic calendar, including one full Moon fruit day for the Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
The grapes were taken to tank, barrel and some amphorae for fermentation. Here they were fermented naturally without yeast or malolactic additions, and with no adjustment to flavor outside a small sulphur dioxide addition. The wine spent 14-27 days on skins before being gently basket pressed to barrel. The varietal blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec. The wine was aged in 80% biodynamic barrels of which 50% were new. The wine will age for up to 50 years.
2880 dozen made
2018 Vintage Report
Growing season conditions:
During the growing season, traditional wet weather conditions prevailed through the winter months. Rainfall was close to 20% above 15 year average. 565mm, average 474mm.
Great spring conditions for the dry grown estate, good soil moisture reserves, followed by warm and dry conditions in November contributed to excellent conditions for flowering and fruit-set. This also contributed to healthy canopy growth and good shoot extension, leading into the summer months. 20% below average rainfall. 148mm, average 187mm.
The beginning of summer set the vines up well for the remainder of the season. Average temperatures through December and above average rainfall allowed for canopies to continue to function well, soil moisture reserves to be kept up and berry development to remain on track.
The remaining months of summer, January and February, leading into the 2018 vintage had temperatures which were below average, however this allowed for very effective photosynthesis within the canopies and consistent even ripening of the fruit. The vines were not impacted by any severe heat or moisture stress. Average daily maximums through January and February were 25 degrees, 1 to 2 degrees below average, and only 5 days above 30 degrees.
Healthy, balanced yields (average to above average) were experienced across all varieties which was helped by the late spring conditions. The moderate temperatures through the summer provided for excellent fruit composure, with great intensity of flavor.
Stand out varieties:
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon (exceptional), Malbec & Merlot. Excellent vintage for concentration, balance and perfume.
Vineyard: 100% Cullen Vineyard
Varieties: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec
Harvest: 12th March to 12th April 2017
Oak: Aged for 15 months in barriques of which 50% were new
Author: Gary Walash Publication: The Winefront (www.winefront.com.au) Date: 9th March 2020 Score: 97
New label. Looks more like the Vanya offering now. I like it. Exquisitely perfumed and balanced Cabernet of perfect proportion and weight. Flowers, cherry, dark chocolate, spicy biscuit and lead pencils. Depth of fruit and ncentration, yet still comes over as svelte and fine, with freshness and fragrance, earthy bass notes, a rich seam of graphite tannin, and a long resonant finish. It’s a sensational vintage for Cullen Cabernet.
Author: Ray Jordan Publication: The West Australian Date: 4th April 2020 Score: 99
I've been waiting for this wine to be released, knowing how good the 2018 vintage was in Margaret River. In fact, it goes further than my lofty expectations. Super-concentrated deep blackcurrant, mulberry and dark, plummy, chocolate flavours. There is an extraordinary brightness and vitality on the nose with exotic violet perfumes. Impeccably poised. A wine that will drink well into the second half of this century. 99/100
(Best drinking: 2025-2065)
Author: Huon Hooke Publication: The Real Review Date: 18th March 2020 Score: 97
Deep, bright, youthful, concentrated purple/red colour which stains the glass. The aroma is fresh and young, fruit-driven and impressively concentrated; essency, with masses of blueberry, cassis, violet and blackberry flavours, underlined by a firm tannin backbone. There is cedar aplenty and loads of cabernet character. The tannins are very firm and it needs more time to mellow. The concentration has ramped up to a new level here. A high-quality wine of enormous potential. (79% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 6% cabernet franc, 5% malbec, aged in 50% new oak)