(Malbec/Petit Verdot/Merlot)- Margaret River, WA
Cullen's red Mangan is one of those unique, ultra-special Australian wines that makes me wonder; 'why aren't there more wines like this in Australia?' Grown at the bio-dynamically managed Mangan vineyard at Wilyabrup, the 2009 is a magnificently styled blend of malbec (63%), petit verdot (27%) and merlot (10%), aged in predominantly used French oak for 12 months.
Perfumed and floral in a charmingly graceful manner, Cullen's 2009 Mangan puts up an airy, spicy whiff of violets underpinned by a right bag of crushed berries; both black and purple. Despite its gentle facade the wine reveals further, abundant aromatic suggestions, courtesy of a savoury interweaving of earthy tones, vanilla oak and dried leaves, with the latter reflecting something browner, earthier and less sharp than the Margaret River's typical green. Its gentle nature flows through to the palate, which is barely medium in weight yet wonderfully soft, supple and blessed with the under-spoken yet attractive presence of a passing princess. It's packed with an effortless, unforced movement of blackberries, plums and mulberries touched by spicy cedar and underlined by damp soils, with a hint of merlot derived olive to emerge, but the way it travels down the palate, with flawless progression, is a real highlight, and one which wouldn't be possible were it not for an ultra-fine, lithe structure laid in place by particularly clean, natural acids and svelte tannins.
ü+ Yet another new-age Australian wine for the rest of the world to wake up to. Cullen's 2009 Mangan is not heavy; it's beautiful in its suppleness and structural elements, and I know it may be an over used term, but it seems a truly natural, unforced wine. Drink to 2021.