In this three bottle vertical collection, you find one bottle each of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 vintages of the Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Margaret River Cabernet Malbec 2017.
With the 2013 vintage Vasse Felix renamed its flagship Cabernet blend. The wine that was Heytesbury is now Tom Cullity, named for the Margaret River pioneer who founded Vasse Felix in 1967. Langton’s Classified under its previous name, Tom Cullity Cabernet Malbec is assured a place among Australia’s finest red wines.
The wine is typically 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot sourced from the original Vasse Felix vineyard planted by Dr Tom Cullity. Fruit parcels are picked in small blocks and fermented with wild yeasts; 52% static fermented and macerated on skins for 20 days or more; 48% open fermented and macerated for 10-15 days on skins. The wine then typically spends 18 months in French oak (about 60% new, 40% second to fifth use) and is fined with egg whites and racked before bottling with minimal filtration.
This wine is a powerhouse. Has elements of the 2013 with the graceful lines of the 2015 vintage. This was a low-yielding vintage and fruit was all wild fermented. Has a long, savoury structure, although the palate remains supple. Defined and poised in a classic cabernet profile.
A noble blend of 78% cabernet, 20% malbec and a dollop of petit verdot, conferring ample richness and an authoritative spine: saline maritime acidity and detailed grape tannins, moreish and ripe, attesting to an extraction regime of courage and confidence. Together with extended maturation in French barrique (18 months, 50% new), the structural attributes are impressive. While this full-bodied wine demands patience, one can already detect cassis, lead, cedar, graphite, a herbal potpourri, a swab of black olive and a bay leaf linger, across cedar oak beams.
96 points, Wine Companion (December 2018)
The best Cullity yet released, confirmed in my own mind at a vertical tasting of the previous vintages. Lifted scents of cedar and subtle bay leaf with crushed rose petal nuances. The palate is deep and powerful with controlled structure of chalky, slightly powdery fine tannins and fine-grained oak. There is a minerally almost sea spray lime character cutting through the dark fruits and chocolate richness. Compelling and just magnificent.
99 points, West Australian
The fragrance of Cabernet and sauvory detail of Malbec unite to distinguished effect in this long-ripening season, giving birth to one of the greatest blends in the lauded history of this legendary estate. Intricately scaffolded with ethereal fruit, enduring, powder fine tannins and sensative oak interlocking seamlessly, this is a masterfully crafted creation. It is impeccably polished from the outset, yet possessing of staggering longevity. 14.2%
98 points, WBM
Deep red/purple colour with a very fresh, nuanced, aromatic bouquet loaded with blue and red fruits, cedar and high-toned flowers, violets to the fore. A totally gorgeous bouquet, very fresh and primary but also complex and detailed. Very fine tannins; extremely long carry. A supremely elegant, sublime wine that finishes right out with impressive extension. Clearly, the best Tom Cullity to date. (17% malbec; 1% petit verdot)
98 points, The Real Review (March 2021)
I was struck from the outset by its elegance. It’s 14.5% alcohol but it’s medium in weight at most. There’s tension here but it’s in a context of calmness; confidence. Bay leaf notes, boysenberry and plum, mint, a creaminess, a cool blackcurrant, liquorice. There’s an ‘aussie bush spice’ aspect to the nose in particular but it’s there on the palate too. You can pretty much read peppercorn/eucalypt into that. Tannin is fine and generally even. I sat down with this over two consecutive nights and enjoyed it thoroughly without ever really being bowled over, though clearly it’s more about the future than the now. In short, it’s a classy, confident, medium-weight wine with a lovely future ahead of it.
94 points, The Wine Front (April 2021)
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.
Vasse Felix was the first commercial vineyard and winery to be established in Margaret River. The name is derived from Vasse (a French seaman who drowned last century while exploring the coastline on the ship Geographe under Captain Freycinet) and the French term for luck. Under the ownership of the Holmes a Court family Vasse Felix has carved an excellent reputation for its superbly made wines. The plush, intensely-flavoured and chocolaty Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet Blend – a limited-release, best-of-vintage ‘Grand Vin’ – is a beacon of quality that is included in the Langton’s Classification. The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, also Langton's-Classified, captures regional rather than site-specific characters. Of equal reputation are the exemplary Chardonnays, both the 'standard' Vasse Felix and the flagship Heytesbury. The Shiraz is also excellent. The entry-level Filius range -- a Chardonnay and a Cabernet-Merlot -- offers exceptional quality and value, as do the even more affordable 'ground-floor' duo of Classic Dry White (Semillon-Sauvignon) and Classic Dry Red (Shiraz-Cabernet). Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's