Cullen Wines


2018 Kevin John

This wine, our flagship 2018 Kevin John has been sourced from our old chardonnay vines planted in 1976-1988. They are Gin Gin Clone, also known as the Old Wente Clone originally from UC Davis. They produce tiny yields of the best quality fruit. This year it was 2.75 tonnes per hectare of certified biodynamic, carbon negative fruit, how wonderful!

Harvest took place from 29th January until 12th February with one pick on a Moon opposite Saturn Flower day, and the remaining fruit harvested on fruit and flower days according to the biodynamic calendar. The bunches were hand harvested, whole bunch pressed and the juice racked to barrel. The parcel of fruit from the Moon Opposite Saturn Harvest was fermented in concrete egg before ageing in puncheons. Of the remaining juice, 70% was fermented in puncheons and 30% in barriques, with 50% new oak.

This stunning chardonnay went through 100% natural malolactic fermentation and spent a total of 6 months in barrel. The wine has had minimal bentonite fining and no filtering or cold stabilization, and will age well for 20 years.
1155 dozen made

Vintage Notes

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.
Spring/Summer conditions:
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.

Summer/Harvest conditions:

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.

Winemaker Notes

Vineyard: 100% Cullen Vineyard
Varieties: 100% Chardonnay
Harvest: From 29th January to 12th February, Fruit & Flower days
Oak: 100% for 6 months in French oak of which 50% was new. A combination of barriques and puncheons were selected for the barrel treatment.
Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes

Colour: Shows the density of the wine being light golden straw with green tinges. Cellar: Drink now or cellar with confidence for at least 20 years. Bouquet: Sensory arrangement of white flower, honey, orange blossom, fig, dried pear lime and an incredible perfume which invites you to take your first taste! Palate: Shows poise and balance with great length the mineral acidity driving the delicious Kevin john flavours to the end of time. The flavour palate fantails onto the taste buds with an exotic explosion of lime, fig, dried pear and honeysuckle, leaving you wanting more.


Author: Gary Walsh Publication: Date: 10th March 2020 Score: 96

Quite often, when I sit down to taste and write about wine, I think to myself what an odd profession this is, that I’ve somehow got myself into. But some days are better than others, that’s for sure.
The two things here that lift this wine above the pack are texture and length, and both are unquestionably impressive. There’s zing and chalk, intensity, and a lingering aftertaste. In among all that there’s ripe lime, spicy oak, mint nougat, dried pear and cashew. Power delivered on rails of zesty acidity, a saline character, oak certainly present, but not overdone. It’s the very model of a modern Chardonnay. It’s a beauty.

Author: Ray Jordan Publication: The West Australian Date: 4th April 2020 Score: 98

One of the most powerful and extraordinarily intense of this illustrious line. Power of lemon zest, stone fruit and lime. The palate is a powerhouse with a deep and concentrated middle extending urgently to a very long finish. Complex and layered with structure that will handle extended cellaring. One of the very best. 98/100

(Best drinking: Now to 2035)

Author: Huon Hooke Publication: The Real Review Date: 18th March 2020 Score: 98

Bright, medium to full yellow colour. A very complex bouquet of candlewax, beeswax, oatmeal and smoky-toasty cashew nut and roasted almond. Grapefruit and other citrus flavours in the mouth. The wine is beautifully intense and complex, restrained and refined as well as concentrated and elegant, the long-lasting finish showing great balance and harmony. An absorbing wine of great bouquet and flavour, with the full array of chardonnay complexities. The aftertaste seems never-ending.

Previous Releases

  • 2016 Kevin John Magnum

    Another great season for our vineyards and our 1976 Chardonnay vines produced some incredible fruit.

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  • 2011 Kevin John Magnum

    When this wine was first tasted after it had been in bottle for a while, it was immediately evident that this Chardonnay is destined for a future that will place it in the upper echelon of the Kevin John Chardonnays produced thus far.

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    View Tasting Notes
  • 2017 Kevin John

    This is a wine defined by great purity, elegance and a fantastic acid backbone: a vintage destined for great ageing potential.

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    View Tasting Notes