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2019 Tom Cullity

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.


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Tasting Notes
APPEARANCE Bright garnet. NOSE An incredibly fruit expressive aroma evoking blackcurrant coulis, with hints of dried rosemary and fresh basil. Pretty floral perfumes of lavender and lily intermingle with traces of native summer forest and fungi. Beautiful transparency of vineyard site is on display as the delicate scent of dried peppy leaf on the banks of the Wilyabrup Brook lifts in the glass, accompanied by cacoa, crayon and an intriguing musk like fragrance. PALATE A succulent, creamy entrance brimming with vibrant fruit weight. The concentrated, elegant body embeds on the palate, framed by a super fine, powdery tannin structure. Relaxed in its completeness, the comfortable dry finish lingers on with tantalising flavours of blackcurrant, dark chocolate, and sweet aromatic oak.
Winemaker Notes
WINEMAKERS NOTES The epitome of rare and fine, from the lowest yielding Cabernet vintage since 2009. Tom’s old blocks were hand-harvested a little later then average, from 5 - 18 April, having enjoyed gentle, extended ripening in this mild season. The small sections were then destemmed, without crushing, and fermented wild with their natural yeast. The Cabernet parcels were static fermented, gently pumped over through a splash tub, and then left on skins for up to 33 days to stabilise and make structurally sound. The Malbec and some Cabernet Sauvignon were open fermented, hand plunged and pressed dry. All parcels were basket-pressed and gently transferred to 66% new (34% old) French oak. Aged on yeast lees for 17 months, all barrels relaxed, untouched throughout maturation, with only one single barrel undergoing one rack and return (K2 Malbec).
Production Notes
78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Malbec
Alcohol %
Cellaring Potential:
Approachable on release at four years of age. 20+ years for elegant and savoury aged Cabernet Sauvignon.
Harvest Date
5 - 18 April 2019
French oak barrique 66% new, 34% 2-4 year old, 17 months
Residual Sugar:
Residual Sugar
Bottling Date
22 January 2021
Vintage Notes

A cool, high-humidity start to vintage meant we benefitted greatly from precise canopy management to mitigate disease pressure and optimise sun exposure for the fruit. The success of this program enabled us to harvest ripe, clean fruit with slightly lower alcohol and great natural acidity. Mild conditions allowed
for extended ripening, creating beautiful aromatics and fine ripe tannins. Marri Blossom was non-existent throughout the region in 2019, resulting in the largest netting program ever seen at Vasse Felix to protect the fruit from bird damage. Overall, a labour intensive vintage that resulted in beautiful quality fruit.

2019 Tom Cullity
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  • 98 Points

    The Winepilot - Ray Jordan

    This wine shows the benefit of an extra year in the bottle. It’s coming together really well. Not the perfume of the 2018, but there is structure and poise here. Pronounced seaweed nori aroma with blackcurrant fruitiness and slightly toasty oak. This was a vintage that continues to reveal itself and should never be overlooked. It has such a seamless and slinky integrated palate that it just coasts through effortlessly to a sustained long finish. A beautiful medium bodied wine. Normally this wine gets a small amount of petit verdot but because of the cooler vintage, none was included in the 2019. You really get a sense of the prettiness and purity plus the detail in the wine when you get to the end of the glass. Brilliant.

  • 97 Points

    James Suckling - Jamessuckling.com

    A dense and layered red with blackcurrants, mushroom, bark, and forest flowers with hints of fresh sage. Medium-bodied with a pretty core of currants and sweet berries with hints of dried and fresh herbs. So creamy and polished in texture. Extremely long and persistent. Drinks wonderfully now. Savory. A cabernet sauvignon and malbec blend. Own roots. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.

  • 97 points

    The Vintage Journal - Andrew Caillard MW

    Medium deep crimson. Fragrant pure blackcurrant chinotto hint violet aromas with vanilla, roasted chestnut notes. Generously concentrated with ample cassis, roasted chestnut flavours, fine lacy/ grainy textures, lovely mid-palate richness/ volume and fresh well integrated acidity. Finishes chalky/ al dente firm with bittersweet notes. Impressively balanced wine with superb pure fruit definition, oak complexity and gentle tannin flow. This should age brilliantly well.

  • 97 Points

    Winepilot - Cassandra Charlick

    78% Cabernet Sauvignon 22% Malbec. French oak Barrique 66% new, 34% 2-4 year old. Some wines are so elevating on the nose, that there’s a hesitancy to put the glass to one’s lips, in fear that the palate cannot possibly live up to the hedonistic aromatics. The 2019 Tom Cullity is one of those wines. The confident, perfumed beauty of the Malbec is upheld by the fine boned and long limbed frame provided by Cabernet. Wild berry, graphite, gravel, concentrated deep black fruits and a whisper of woodsmoke and potpourri. There’s a distinct savoury note of Australian bush undergrowth and dried, crushed Eucalypt which is kept in check with tones of berry coulis and cassis. On the palate there is a burst of powerfully dense yet elegant fruit, lifted by a fine acid line that flows throughout the length of the lithe and sinewy tannins. Crafted from some of the oldest vines in the region holding court over the surrounding Wilyabrup hillsides, this is a focused expression of Margaret River Cabernet. Wow, what a wine. Delicious and balanced drinking now, or cellar for 20+ years.