Who makes it?
Cullen is easily recognised as one of Australia’s best wine producers. They were also an early adopter of biodynamic wine making, and not just in Australia. Furthermore, the Cullen family were one of the early families to plant vineyards and make wine in Margaret River itself.
While the Cullen Estate was always farmed using minimal intervention techniques, it was changed to fully organic in 1998. Biodynamic certification was not long after. Their first vineyard was certified in 2004.
However, it cannot be denied that Cullen is known the world over for their collectible and very high quality wines.
How do they make it?
Cullen Amber is an extended skin white wine. It is unsurprisingly a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (52%) and Semillon (48%). Indeed, the Bordeaux blanc blend is one of Cullen’s specialities.
The grapes were grown and harvested as per biodynamic principles. Then the grapes were ferments in selection of vessels, including amphorae, where the wine spent around 10 days on its skins. To add some gentle creaminess, the wine then spent 3 months in older French oak.
So, not very long on skins, but long enough to give depth of colour and a very silky, almost glossy texture.
What does it taste like?
Firstly, one of the things that stands out about this wine is the colour. It is an amber hue due to that time on skins. This vintage is rather herbal and nettley but there is a peachiness, pepperiness there too. I have been watching this wine over the years and it does change year on year depending on the vintage conditions. It is always interesting and always good drinking.
It certainly has that silky, slinky mouth feel that extended skin contact wines tend to have. As well as the fleshy body. However, these grapes are in the hands of a skilled team of winemakers. If you wanted a a wine to start to understand ‘natural’ wines, this is a great place to start.
What to drink it with?
This is a versatile white wine and can be enjoyed with fish and seafood. Maybe a white fish fillet sprinkled with almonds and a buttery sauce. Alternatively, it would also be great with an onion tartlet.
Yes please. Something fresh like chevre or feta.
Quickie review « Fresh herbs and stonefruit with a silky, slinky appeal. »
Country of Origin: Margaret River, Australia
Tasting Date: October 2021
Price: UK £25 | AU$39 |USD$ 30++
Drink: now – 7+ years
Needs food: no
If you like Cullen Amber wine, why not check out Natural wines – 5 wines you should be drinking.
If you like a classic Margaret River white, you might enjoy the Cullen Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
Visit cullenwines for more.