Saturday, April 9, 2011


(Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot)
- Margaret River, WA
- $90-$130
- Screwcap
- 12.5%alc

No list of Australia's top wines would be complete without Cullen's Diana Madeline. Alongside Mount Mary's Yarra Valley sourced Quintet, Cullen's flagship represents the very pinnacle of Australia's cabernet blends class. Both Cullen and James Halliday have made mention of a differently styled 2008 Diana Madeline, delivered by the application of new winemaking equipment.

Seductively perfumed and fragrant, yet elegant and controlled, Cullen's 2008 Diana Madeline shows everything you'd expect from the label and its season, albeit in a much gentler, even more feminine manner than usual. Its aromas of cherry, blackberry and mulberry are expressed with an edge of genuinely ripened, sweet fruit, complementing its 12.5%abv, but also with an additional interweaving of the savoury, earthy notes typical of Cullen's reds, and a clean air of the freshest cedar/pencil shavings-like oak (14 months French - 48% new). A touch of dry leaf may also rear its head. In the mouth, it's definitively elegant, gentile, fine, long and tightening, with a light to medium-bodied filling of character so understated, that it's hardly a cabernet for the tasting circuit. For a young blend containing 14% merlot, one could be forgiven for anticipating more juice, or richness, but as the wine transgresses from front to back palate, there's a wonderful consistency to its physicality; a beautifully articulated progression, punctuated stunningly and gracefully at its climax by the perfectly concealed, sensuously dry and lithe acid/tannin structure found exclusively in Cullen's bio-dynamic beauties.

ü Right in Cullen's modern groove. A scene setter. Poles apart from the norm of Australian cabernet. Lady-like, intelligent, stern and composed. Drink to 2024.
95 points


  1. excellent write up Chris; if only i had the dosh to try this wine as it sounds absolutely superb..

  2. Thanks Andy. I don't spend $100 on a bottle of wine too often, but Cullen's Diana Madeline is one that has reaped rewards for me in the past, particularly from vintages like 2004 and 2005. Like all Cullen's releases really, it's a wine I like :) From its winemaking, I can sense a slight change in direction with the 2008, as it seems even less 'Australian' than before. I do like a wine that pushes back the boundaries of Australian wine though :)

    Chris P