Friday, January 28, 2005

Vanya Cullen

Cullen, Margaret River "Mangan" 2003 ($42) -- Australia. 47% Malbec, 47% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot. 13% alcohol. You would never guess this wine was from Australia as it is not brash or over the top. (No offense mates!) It is a beautifully crafted and elegant wine with a long finish that tastes like a fine Bordeaux. After a brief decanting, I got a subtle fruit nose and then perfectly balanced flavors. Here are the winemakers notes:

The Cullens are delighted at the success of this wine, which represents a unique blend of three of the Bordeaux grape varieties. The precise contributions made by Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot are varied each vintage to take into account the quality and cropping levels of each variety. The blend for the 2003 Mangan comprised 47% of both Malbec and Petit Verdot and 6% of Merlot.

The Mangan was always intended to be a high quality fruit driven style that capitalised on the rich power of the Malbec, the length of the Petit Verdot and the fine tannins provided by Merlot. Thus, in 2003, only 20% of the Mangan was matured in wood and this was restricted to a period of eight months.

This is the fourth Cullen wine I have tasted recently. Each one caused me to stop and take notice of the great winemaking skills. I would not be surprised to see these wines move up steeply in price as people recognize what great wines these are. This is a wine that disappears down your throat eventhough you are sipping slowly to judge the quality, and then you eagerly re-fill your glass. And then sadly, it is all gone. One should buy as much of the wines from this winemaker as one can afford. Amazing stuff!


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