Cullen is a benchmark winery from the Margaret River. My own experiences with the label have been more mixed but the sample size is not large. This particular wine is Cullen’s 1997 “cabernet sauvignon merlot”. From the 2001 vintage, the name “Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot” and then just “Diana Madeline” have appeared on top label cabernet sauvignon merlot blends from Cullen. It is not entirely clear to me whether the 1997 Cullen tasted here is the equivalent of the prestigious “Diana Madeline” or a lesser wine. I note too that it appears that Cullen produced a reserve cabernet merlot in 1997, which this wine is not. Anyway, my recommendation is to be cautious buying and if nothing else, the photograph above shows the wine reviewed here.
The first bottle was problematic, with overt green capsicum and tomato stalk characters rendering the wine a disappointing chore to drink. A second bottle opened proved the first bottle an exception. Or perhaps it is the other way around. This time, the green capsicum aromatics were in check, and a brooding cabernet sauvignon aroma of dried herbs and dark blackberry emerged. The palate had a medium length finish, with flavours of dried tea leaves and blackcurrant taking on a savoury edge. Overall, this proved to be a good wine due to its length, some savoury complexity and its longevity. However, bottle variation is certainly a problem on this tasting. Good
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