There are wines that are ‘top shelf’. And then there are wines that require their own new shelf to be built. The Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Blend 2015 is such a wine. When Vasse Felix, the first winery in Margaret River, makes a wine to honour its founder Dr Thomas Brendan Cullity, you know it’s going to get plenty of attention in the vineyard and in the winery. And not surprisingly, it gets plenty of attention from everyone who has the pleasure of tasting it. A powerful blend of cabernet (78%) and malbec (20%), each component brings its best to the table, including a tiny splash of petit verdot. In the winery, 51% new French oak barriques are used for 16 months maturation, with the remainder in seasoned oak barriques. The result is a wine with fine-grained tannins that suggest a long and healthy future. An opulent wine, there are lifted dark berried fruit characters on the nose, framed with classy dusty, cedary oak. There’s polish and poise, definitely a step up from even the best cabernet Margaret River has to offer. The palate builds and builds with energy and intensity. And once it has you in its hold, it doesn’t let go. Definitely one for the cellar and one to drink with those who’ll appreciate it - and recognise Tom’s foresight to start Vasse Felix in Margaret River.
“ The 2015 Cullity is all about finesse and power with subtle aromas and flavors of currants, plums and autumnal leaves. Full body and firm, chewy tannins that give the wine length and freshness. Just keeps on growing on the palate. Better after 2022, but already a gem to taste. Drink in 2022 and onwards. Screw cap.” – James Suckling
“A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2015 Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec boasts stunningly pure cassis aromas, with just enough hints of mint, sage, cedar and tobacco to impart welcome complexity. It’s medium to full-bodied but linear and focused in style, with more length than breadth on the palate, layers of fine, mouth-coating tannins and a long, mouthwatering finish. While by no means unapproachable even now, expect it to be better in another five years and drink well for another decade or more after that.” – Wine Advocate.
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It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Margaret River
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
- Serving Temp.
From the producer
A very light but plush palate with plummy notes, a fresh tangy length and fine but strong, powdery tannin finish. The ever so subtle flavours of plum, teak, black tea and a hint of clove round out this intriguing wine.
Mild conditions in Margaret River with no extreme weather conditions, allowing for balanced fruit and a slow and steady intake. There was no disease pressure and fruit quality is excellent the only disappointment was yields being down across the Region for all key varieties. This was the outcome of storms in spring and pressure from an increase in the local population of Silver Eyes (birds) and no Marri Blossom.
All blocks were destemmed only without crushing and then allowed to ferment naturally. The Petit Verdot, Malbec and larger portion of Cabernet Sauvignon (making up 54%) were open fermented, hand plunged and pressed dry. The remaining 46% of the Cabernet and Malbec were static fermented, gently pumped over through a splash tub and then left on skins for up to 34 days, allowing the wine to stabilise and become structurally sound in such a brilliant year for tannin ripeness. The small sections were basket pressed to fine French oak and matured for only 16 months in this delicate vintage, with minimal racking.
Margaret River is as elusive as it is beautiful, such that you really need to visit to truly grasp its haunting beauty. Über-premium Cabernet, Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends grow here. 'Margies' only produces 3% of the country's grapes, but commands over 20% of its premium wine market, and hasn't had an off vintage since 2006. You start to realise how often this region is overlooked when you can list brands like Leeuwin, Cape Mentelle, Vasse Felix, and Voyager, not to mention Cullen, Pierro, Moss Wood, and Deep Woods. It's safe to say that it's time for a revisit.
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
Traditional roast lamb
- 2kg leg of lamb, fat trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.5kg chat potatoes
- Basic gravy (makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups):
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease roasting pan. Place lamb in pan. Combine oil, rosemary and garlic in a bowl. Rub half the oil mixture over lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Roast lamb, basting with remaining oil mixture every 20 minutes, for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking. Add potatoes to pan for last 40 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
- Remove lamb from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Stand for 10 minutes. Carve. Serve with potatoes.
- Basic Gravy: Transfer meat (and any vegetables) to a plate to rest. Combine stock and wine in a jug. Skim fat from roasting pan, leaving 1 1/2 tablespoons pan juices and fat in pan. Place pan over high heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and becomes golden. Add juices from resting meat. Slowly add stock mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Cook, scraping pan, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...