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 purest expression of our history, place and vintage; 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.
Tom’s tenacious and enduring persistence led to the successful creation of Margaret River’s first commercial wines. He is remembered for his pioneering role in establishing the Margaret River Wine Region. The TOM CULLITY is a fitting tribute to this extraordinary legacy.
1 bottle limit
Heavy winter rainfalls recharged soil moisture levels, ideal for our dry grown vines. A modest spring enabled moderate crop levels, and while the growing season felt cool, it was in fact warmer across daytime average temperatures in the lead up to harvest. There was a “mega blossom” of the Marri trees - the most blossom in living memory – keeping bird pressure to almost zero. Vintage timing was on average, with minor rainfall freshening red vines for the finish. A long, dry, warm Indian summer followed, with no heat spike events. One of, if not the best, Cabernet Sauvignon vintages of the decade, with ultra-fine, perfectly ripe tannins, moderate sugars and good natural acidity. Vibrant colours. Complex and lifted aromas.
This wine is the benchmark of the latent power, grace and inherent balance of the 2018 vintage in Margaret River. Texturally similar to the classically sophisticated 2014 vintage, but with far greater density and weight. Here, the savoury tannins are countersunk into the fruit already: shapely, firm, chewy, malleable – everywhere and nowhere at once. Waves of blood plum, cassis, blackberry, pomegranate, juniper, raspberries, saltbush, bay leaf and salted red licorice crash against the rocks, as kelp, nori, iodine, red gravel and brine ride the smaller sets out the back. Sensational. Astounding. A wine for the ages.
Highly perfumed aromas strike immediately. There is that combination of fruit sweetness and fine chalky minerally tannins. Loads of blackcurrant and juicy plum with a dollop of chocolate and mocha cut with floral and dried herb notes. Bright and energetic at every turn with subtlety and elegance. Delivers with a degree of understatement and restraint yet gathers pace and momentum as it drives through to the finish. The tannins are more in the powdery space with that slightly aspirin-like oak influence bringing it all together seamlessly and harmoniously. This is classic cabernet in its varietal makeup with a firm spine and length. The malbec has brought a vibrant red fruit juiciness into the equation. The finest wine yet from Vasse Felix. It’s 2016 without the tannin and 2014 without the opulence.
Medium deep crimson. Fragrant cassis, dark plum, chinotto aromas with herb garden, aniseed notes. Voluminous blackcurrant, dark plum, blackberry fruits, lovely persistent fine chocolaty textures, superb mid-palate density, fresh juicy acidity and plentiful mocha, espresso oak notes. Finishes chocolaty with plentiful sweet dark fruits and attractive mineral length. Lovely concentration, definition and torque. Should last some distance and keep for a while to let the elements further integrate. An impressive landmark vintage. 78% cabernet sauvignon 17.5% malbec 4.5% petit verdot. Matured in new (59%) and seasoned French oak for 18 months.
Not a powerhouse on the nose, but rather an intriguing mix of beautifully curated black and red berries, florals and meats with an earthy element of graphite. It smells harmonious yet complex. The palate is luxuriously rich and svelte, once again a myriad of complexing flavours combine and are carried along with fine rolling tannins. It's incredibly well balanced and there's a purity to the fruit that is captivating. But perhaps best of all, there has been restraint in the winemaker's work letting the fruit take centre stage. This is a mind-blowing cabernet that captures the elegance and complexity this grape can produce at its greatest height.