Cullen Captivates China Club - 07/10/13

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Dinner with Vanya Cullen is always a delight. Not only does she make some of the purest, most unique wines coming out of Australia’s Margaret River, she also exudes a sense of dedication and passion to what she does and how she does it, which is second to none. Despite being regarded as one of the finest female winemakers in the world, Vanya is neither loud, nor flashy, in fact quite the opposite of both. Softly spoken and down to earth in the most literal sense (she manages her vineyards by Biodynamic means only), she can capture the full attention of a room just by drawing breath. Sitting opposite her for dinner a few Mondays ago at Hong Kong’s China Club, was a total pleasure as usual, not least of all because the wines were as fresh and  pure as I have ever tasted them. 

Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010
60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, this wine exudes lovely lemon lime aromas with touches of savoury Semillon fruit coming through on the nose. With good body and great acidity this proved a wonderful match to the baked soft shell crab we had for our first course. Unlike many Sauvignon Blanc blends, this could easily age ten years, gaining more honeyed and toasty complexity with time. 

Kevin John Chardonnay 2010
Ripe lemon citrus with white pear and lime touches on the nose. Lovely acidity and a wonderful explosion of Brazilian lime freshness and minerality on the palate, followed by a hint of very well integrated new French oak adding further depth and complexity, no hint of malo. A fantastically elegant wine with a superb length. Nervy. Could be likened (if not easily mistaken!) for Grand Cru Burgundy. 

Kevin John Chardonnay 2009
More honeyed and developed than the 2010, with ripe citrus and white peach character. Wonderful balance and roundness achieved by the ripeness of fruit enveloping the tight, linear acidity.  Very long length and still very young. More easily drinkable at this stage than the 2010 and perhaps more of an overall a crowd pleaser.

Mangan Vineyard Malbec Merlot Petit Verdot 2010 
With a third each of Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this is almost certainly an entirely unique blend, not to be found anywhere else in the world. Unoaked, this wine shows Mangan Vineyard’s red grape varieties’ truest and purest expression. Lovely dark red and black fruit aromas on the nose with touches of mineral laterite, the iron stone sub soil on which the grapes are grown. Cullen’s so-called ‘Pinot Noir’, this is a perfect wine for matching with lamb or game dishes. 

Diana Madeline 2008 – Cabernet Sauvignon blend
Wonderful aromas of blackberry and cassis with floral touches and hints of mineral ironstone. Silky on the palate with rounded tannins and a powerful acid backbone supporting the ripe, concentrated fruit. 30-40 years ageing potential no problem at all and with just 12.5% this is one you should be buying cases of as one bottle, once opened, simply won’t suffice!

Diana Madeline 2009 – Cabernet Sauvignon blend
Evidently younger  than the 2008 with a far fuller mineral-cassis flavour. Big, bold, yet ripe tannins and a very full body. Concentrated and powerful while still maintaining Cullen’s trademark elegance. Long, complex finish. Huge ageing potential as always with this wine. 

For sourcing the wines in Hong Kong contact Links Concepthttp://www.linksconcept.com.hk/en/index.php

For more about Cullen Wines: http://www.cullenwines.com.au/

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