A biodynamic red to blow sceptics’ minds

2013 Cullen, Mangan East Block, Margaret River, Western Australia

2013 Cullen, Mangan East Block, Margaret River, Western Australia (£30, Laithwaites.co.uk). 

Vanya Cullen was in the UK recently to host a very special vertical tasting (where you taste several vintages of a single winery) of her stellar Kevin John (KJ) chardonnays and Diana Madeline (DM) cabernets.

Vanya is one of the most inspirational and talented winemakers in the world and she is a fervent proponent of “biodynamism”. This means the Cullen regime follows the moon’s cycles closely and ensures the vineyard is in perfect harmony with nature. Too often this mantra is trotted out by random vignerons and the wines invariably disappoint. Vanya’s wines, however, possess uncommon resonance. This makes them compelling, vital, and – in most cases – nothing short of magnificent.

While KJ (the 2014 is £73.30) and DM (the 2013 is £71.80, both from Hedonism.co.uk) are made in tiny quantities, there are two other wines I adore. The 2014 Mangan Vineyard Semillon (£21.99, www.ozwines.co.uk) and my featured red, a petit verdot/malbec blend, both sing.

The semillon pulses with strident florals, ginger slivers and lime zest, and East Block wears sooty, mulberry and potpourri nuances. The use of old French oak elevates its aroma to anthemic proportions. Cullen wines help us understand how effective biodynamic practices can be. They will blow sceptics’ minds and thrill others besides.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).