Cullen Dining, Wilyabrup, Western Australia

February 26, 2008

One of the first vineyards and wineries in the Margaret River area was Cullen Wines. This family owned and operated enterprise has since expanded and achieved an excellent reputation. It is also the first winery in the area to be fully biodynamic and the first to be certified carbon neutral. Its planting and harvesting follow lunar cycles. Through a mutual friend we were able to have a special tour and winetasting on February 19, 2008.

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Our friendly and knowledgable tour guide let us taste the almost ripe grapes. One could tell the characteristics of the different varieties. 

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Our tasting was at a table near the tasting bar where the public is welcome.

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We stayed afterwards for lunch in the restaurant, Cullen Dining, which is furnished from the biodynamic vegetable garden on the estate.

We ordered a bottle of the 2006 Cullen Mangan, which we had enjoyed in the tasting. It is a mix of Merlot 50%, Malbec 14% and Petit Verdot 36%.  Petit Verdot was once used widely in Bordeaux to add body to the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, but it has almost disappeared there due to its late ripening resulting in usually failed crops. It has plenty of time to ripen in the Margaret River area where it is common in blends.

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Linda started with the Grilled almond-crusted fresh paneer with zucchini fritter, slow roasted tomato, baby capers and basil pesto.
 

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My starter was the Broad bean and chickpea falafel, charred spring onion, marinated feta and chilli oil. Refreshing, tasty and not overspiced.

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Tony’s first course and Linda’s main was the Sugar cured kangaroo fillet with pepper egg noodles. This turned out to be a cold pasta salad, but was enjoyable.

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Tony and I had the Duck confit on Marino white polenta, macerated Turkish figs, rocket, pinenuts and red onion. This was substantial. The duck was rich and crisp, contrasting nicely with the other ingredients.

We skipped dessert. The meal had been very good, and appropriate for the lovely rural setting. At the shop we bought some Cullen wine for Tony’s cellar.

www.cullenwines.com.au

 

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