Vasse Felix, Margaret River's founding wine estate, was established by Dr Thomas Brendan Cullity in 1967. Among his first plantings were Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec vines, from which he produced the estate’s first red wine. The Tom Cullity descends from these original vines and represents the pinnacle of Vasse Felix.
Dr Tom Cullity
Dr Tom Cullity was a respected Cardiologist from Western Australia. He discovered the great table wines of Europe in the 1950s while in Britain working at the National Heart Hospital. Upon returning home, Tom set himself a mission to make fine wines in WA. He searched extensively for the perfect plot of land, taking guidance from the research of Professor Harold Olmo (1955) and Dr John Gladstones (1965) before establishing an 8 acre vineyard in Cowaramup called Vasse Felix.
His exhaustive work and persistence led to the successful creation of Margaret River’s first commercial wines. He is remembered for his pioneering role in establishing Margaret River.
Mild conditions in Margaret River with no extreme weather conditions, allowing for balanced fruit and a slow and steady intake. There was no disease pressure and fruit quality is excellent the only disappointment was yields being down across the Region for all key varieties. This was the outcome of storms in spring and pressure from an increase in the local population of Silver Eyes (birds) and no Marri Blossom.
Outstanding - Langton's Classification VII
Sourced from the original vines planted in 1967 by Doctor Tom Cullity, the Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec represents a multi-generational journey of innovation based on trial and error. Based on Houghton clone cabernet sauvignon and malbec, refined vinification techniques and maturation for 18 months in French oak, this wine validates and continues the Heytesbury narrative. Vibrant blackcurrant and herb garden aromas, fine-grained tannins, sous-bois (forrest floor) notes, generous concentration and integrated new oak mark the style.
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. 98/100. Best Drinking: Now to 2040.
"..the best Tom Cullity to date for me"
20% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, and the rest is Cabernet. This is the best Tom Cullity to date for me. Red and black fruits, dried roses, peppermint tea, cedar and spice. It's medium bodied, fleshy and perfumed, succulent in fruit, polished fine grained tannin, oak present but not dominant, clean almost cranberry acidity, and an earthy savoury Malebc infused finish with a fine length. Has a delicacy and distinctive character. Drink 2020-2035. 95 points
"sheer perfection in its cabernet expression"
The 2015 Vasse Felix Tom Cullity (cabernet malbec) is sheer perfection in its cabernet expression. Although the Tom Cullity has no explicit track record for ageing - the first vintage being 2013 - the Heytesbury red that came before it, and the cabernet before that, are still showing their prowess today. It's therefore no secret how the Tom Cullity will be in 30, 40 and 50 years' time. The 2015 release is more subdued and restrained than the 2014, and comes across as extraordinarily elegant. This one will take a little longer to come out of its shell than the previous two vintages, but everything is already in perfect balance. Vasse Felix owner Paul Holmes a Court is adamant that Margaret River is one of the best places in the world to grow cabernet. "The Tom Cullity cabernet leaves no doubt about how clear we are in that vision," he says.