The moon, fruits and flowers of Cullen

Vanya Cullen

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Vanya Cullen, of Cullen Wines (tastings) in Margaret River, is well-known as a leading advocate of biodynamics, but she has gone a step further than anyone else in producing a series of four chardonnays which were harvested and/or put into barrels on certain auspicious lunar dates.

The grapes were harvested either on fruit days or flower days, and the wines were also filled into barrels on either a fruit or a flower day.

Some readers will think this is just another kind of moon-touched madness; others will be enthralled.

The wines were all made from top-level chardonnay grapes which would otherwise have gone into the winery’s flagship chardonnay, Kevin John, named after Vanya’s father, co-founder, the late Dr Kevin Cullen. They were made in very small volumes and are basically experimental. But they are so extraordinarily good, that lovers of great chardonnay will be keen to buy them.

The four wines were also inspired by Kevin Cullen’s love of chardonnay, and hence they’ve been named the Kevin John Legacy Series.

I tasted all four wines and have to confess that any differences between them were mostly so subtle as to make any attempt at description pointless. They are:

  • 2013 Flower Day, Flower Barrel (tasting)
  • 2014 Fruit Day, Fruit Barrel (tasting)
  • 2014 Fruit Day, Flower Barrel (tasting), and
  • 2014 Moon Opposite Saturn Harvest, Flower Day, Flower Barrel (tasting).

The last was described by Vanya as having a special raciness and vitality. I agree: and I put this down mostly to the higher acidity, but it also has a honey, buttery note which sets it slightly apart. All of the wines have a close kinship with the Cullen Wines 2014 Kevin John Chardonnay (tasting). In other words, great concentration allied with great elegance, wonderful complexity of flavour, tightness of structure, power and finesse.

My tasting notes for all five wines are on the app now.

The Kevin John Legacy Series, which is a one-off, will be offered ex-winery and online towards the end of this month, singly or in a four-bottle pack. The labels were especially designed and are as beautiful as the wines.

Each of the wines is $250 and there will be a Kevin John Legacy Series four-pack for $925. I think they’re worth it. They and the Kevin John Chardonnay (at just over $100) stand tall beside great white Burgundies which cost at least as much – substantially more when the comparison is with the Kevin John Chardonnay.

No doubt the fortunate souls who secure some bottles will have a lot of fun comparing them, and arguing about whether the moon had anything to do with it.

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