Cullen Chardonnay Retrospective – May 2017


Cullen Chardonnay Retrospective

Barry Weinman: 7th May 2017

The Kevin John Chardonnay is the wine that has really caught my attention in recent years, with a succession of excellent wines. What impact biodynamics has had I can’t say, but I now rank this amongst the region’s finest.

Adding interest to the story is the release of a very limited quantity of wines that have been harvested at different times of the biodynamic cycle. I do not claim to understand the differences, but the Fruit Barrel was superb, with the Flower Day and Flower Barrel just a whisker behind.

At $250 per bottle, they make the standard release look like a bargain by comparison.

A special thanks to Lamont’s in Cottesloe for hosting this tasting.


Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2015. Youthful, fresh and floral, with delightful stone fruit aromatics. Slightly viscous, hints of tropical fruit and grapefruit acidity to close. Seamless oak integration and a touch of toast. The palate is complete!

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2014. This wine has gone into its shell a little. Everything in place, but just needs a year or two to open up. Gentle toast to the oak.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2013. Remains restrained and taut, with more minerality on show. The balance and mouth-feel are a treat. Seamless, integrated, very fine and a highlight of the tasting.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2012. Richer and more approachable, with a touch of marmalade developing in the nose. The palate has peach/nectarine fruit, creamy mouth-feel and scintillating acidity. Very long, and great drinking now.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2011. Gentle aromatics. Pineapple and citrus fruit, with lemony acidity carrying the finish. Very long, with minerality building on the close. Developed characters just starting to show with gentle toast, adding richness and depth. Superb drinking now.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2010. This bottle did not show well on the night.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2009. The age is just starting to show in the colour, but there is still lovely freshness to both the nose and palate. A sublime wine where the stone fruit and citrus characters are perfectly integrated. A lovely drink now.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2008. More development, with the fruit here a little faded. A very satisfying drink that has gentle viscosity, balance and good acid levels.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2007. The minerality on the nose is very attractive, with some of the curry-leaf characters that I often find in great Chardonnays. The palate is rich, textured and very long. The pineapple and tropical characters carry the length of the palate and are complemented by a lovely line of acidity. A great wine that is approaching its peak, and one of the top wines of the tasting.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin JohnFlower Day – 2013. Complex, powerful fruit. The palate is a powerhouse of flavours and textures. This really needs a few years to settle down. The acidity is so fine that it is barely noticeable, yet it provides great definition to the wine.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin JohnMoon Opposite Saturn Harvest – 2014. Almost austere, the fruit is subdued and it is the honey and toast characters that are most noticeable. Not a rewarding drink now, but will be interesting to watch over the coming years.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin JohnFlower Barrel – 2014. Wow, what a pretty wine. There is beautifully fragrant fruit on the nose that carries through with floral characters on the palate. Almost jasmine blossom. Refined and seamless palate, the oak just making a presence on a close that is very long. Almost Alsace-like, this is a different style.

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin JohnFruit Barrel – 2014. Classic Cullen’s Chardonnay, with all the characters intensified. This is a superb wine, where the brilliant fruit quality is on full show. Pretty, perfumed stone fruit, creamy texture. Very long, balanced and refined. A complete wine and my pick of the tasting.