January 3o 2017 on thewinedetective.com.uk, wine reviewer Sarah Ahmed discusses Cullen Wines’ 2012 Vanya Cabernet Sauvignon, calling it ‘glorious’.
“Shown alongside the latest release of Diana Madeline, the 2014, Cullen ‘Vanya’ 2012 is a remarkably pale, perfumed, delicate Cabernet Sauvignon (with a dash – 3% – of Petit Verdot) – to my mind, redder in hue and fruit profile, with dried roses and gossamer, super sheer, tannins. To use a cliché, very feminine, which is how I had thought of Diana Madeline (especially recent incarnations) until I tasted ‘Vanya.’ In comparison, while still fresh and finely honed, Diana Madeline 2014 – a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc – was much darker and spicier in hue and flavour spectrum. The Cabernet Sauvignon for both wines comes from Cullen’s original 1971 blocks and, for this wine’s namesake, winemaker Vanya Cullen, the differences are partly down to vintage. For her, 2012 produced “classic” Cabernets – “medium-bodied and elegant,” while 2014 “is a big fruity year and very popular because of that, with amazing texture.” The Diana Madeline’s tannins are certainly firmer, which accentuates the dryness (of flavour profile) which I enjoy about Cullen’s Cabernets/Cabernet blends. And its oak accent – delicious cedar spice/pencil shavings – is more prominent (though true, this wine is two years younger). As if set free from tannins and oak, it’s the purity and joyous flow of ‘Vanya’ which took my breath away. It makes for an approachability – a precocity, as if I’d been fast forwarded to the older wines I tasted at Cullen’s 40th anniversary vertical in 2012. Funnily enough, I just picked up that’s what I said about Cullen Diana Madeline 2012 (my review here) – what exceptional balance and seamlessness in this celebrated vintage! Which is why, Cullen says, while Diana Madeline is made every year, ‘Vanya’ “will come in those years when the wine is there.” Taking purity to another level, I might add. Glorious. 13.5% UK RRP £199.99 (imported by Liberty Wines).”
See Sarah Ahmed’s original article here