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2021 Diana Madeline

2021 vintage marks the 50th year of plantings for cabernet sauvignon at the Cullen Wilyabrup vineyard. Serendipity allows it also to be Diana Madeline’s 100th year, beginning on 11th February 2023. It’s incredible to imagine the times of planting in 1971, with no real knowledge of how things would turn out, just faith and great vision to feed the early pioneers of the region, we are talking and tasting the 50th vintage and the region is going from strength to strength on the national and international stage.

This wine is the culmination of over 50 years of dedication effort and respect for the land. The quest for better quality wine made using sustainable methods.

The grapes for this wine were hand harvested on the biodynamic fruit and flower days across 5 picks from the middle of March to the super Moon Flower day two weeks later (including a Moon opposite Saturn fruit day harvest). It was then aged in 50% new oak for a period of 15 months with barriques and puncheons and biodynamic barrels included. The final blend is 91% Cabernet.

Vintage Notes

The 2021 vintage was defined by Covid and staff restrictions for hand harvesting. The low yields ensured that the crop was harvested at optimal condition and ripeness. Bird pressure was high and rain events during the growing seasons and also throughout harvest provided challenges.

In spite of these adverse conditions, in Wilyabrup, we finished harvest in good time and are very happy with the wines. Standout varieties; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaker Notes

Vineyard: 100% Cullen Vineyard
Varieties: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc & 2% Malbec
Harvest:  Fruit and flower days between 12th and 28th March, including a MOSH fruit and a super Moon flower day.
Oak: 15 months in 50% new oak
Alcohol: 13.5%

Tasting Notes

Colour: Deep garnett mulberry, purple meniscus. Cellar: Now or cellar up to 50 years Bouquet: Cherries, ironstone, dark chocolate, cedar, rose, plum; the aromas singing with sweet power on this flower day of tasting, lifting out of the glass and filling the room. Food: Margaret River wagu beef, Akardy lamb. Palate: A truely profound wine with great depth ,length, and concentration. The fine tannins wrap around the front palate and the flavours of plum, salty plum, dark chocolate, cherry, cedar, rose and sandalwood flow energetically,.. leaving a long , juicy unctuous finish. The complexity reflects the vines; 50 years since planting.

Reviews

Author: Ken Gargett Publication: Wine Pilot Date: 8th February, 2023 Score: 98/100

'Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 ($160) – The newly released DM Cabernet is a particularly auspicious one, celebrating what would have been the 100th birthday of Diana Madeline herself. No doubt, she would have been delighted with the wine. In fact, it is very hard to remember when this 'Cabernet would not have been amongst the very best released in this country. This latest release is likely to be seen as one of the finest they have ever made. This is not just a great Margaret River wine, it is a great wine. Deep opaque purple hue. The nose is a whirling dervish of spices, cherries, tobacco leaves, cassis, black fruits, leather and dried herbs. Hints of cloves and blackberries. The structure is immaculate. The wine is focused, with the intensity maintained the full length to a very long finish. Silky tannins. Certainly young now, and although it really is enjoyable, expect this wine to give great pleasure over the next two decades. It is going to get even better. This will surely be one of the top wines of the year, even at this early stage.'  

Author: Ray Jordan Publication: Wine Pilot Score: 98 points

‘This is a triumph for the vineyard in what was a challenging year in Margaret River. Low yields, birds and rain events all conspired to make things tough but a rigorous biodynamic approach in the vineyard and later in the winery has resulted in a magnificent expression of a slightly cooler climate Margaret River cabernet. High end florals on the nose with notes of violet and red berry overpaying the deeper blackcurrant concentration. The oak is well managed and integrated with the tannins firm and chalky providing the structure to support extended ageing. A worthy commemoration of family matriarch Diana Cullen who would have been 100 this year.’

Author: Winsor Dobbin Score: 97 points

'There is pressure on a winemaking team every time they craft an icon wine. For Vanya Cullen and her team in Margaret River there was even more pressure than usual when they put together the 2021 Cullen Diana Madeline, a Margaret River flagship. The 2021 Diana Madeline, named in honour of the co-founder of Cullen and Vanya's mum, will be released on February 11 - which would have been the 100th birthday of Diana Madeline. The new release is, fortunately for all concerned, a wine worthy of the occasion; complex but cohesive. The vintage report is certainly positive: "The low yields ensured that the crop was harvested at optimal condition and ripeness". There were, however, issues with birds - there were several unwanted rain events during the growing season. "In spite of these adverse conditions we finished harvest in good time in Wilyabrup and are very happy with the wines." As always, the 2021 Diana Madeline was picked according to the biodynamic calendar. It is a blend of 91% cabernet sauvignon, 4% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 2% malbec that was matured for 15 months in 50% new French oak. It is an assertive wine with dark plum and blackcurrant fruit notes to the fore, but is pleasingly restrained in the Bordeaux tradition at just 13.5% alcohol. I gave it an outstanding 97/100. You'll probably pay around $160 per bottle at retails outlets, which is more than fair for a wine this distinguished and beautifully integrated.'

$170.00

Previous Releases

  • 2019 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.

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    View Tasting Notes
  • 2017 Diana Madeline

    Diana Madeline Cullen always liked the cooler seasons for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially the 1982.

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    View Tasting Notes
  • 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.

    Read more
    View Tasting Notes
  • 2009 Diana Madeline 3L Double Magnum

    Vanya has referred to 2009 as the Mozart vintage because all of the wines produced in that year are in perfect harmony and balance.

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    View Tasting Notes