Cullen moonlighting pays off

Ray JordanThe West Australian

It seemed appropriate for an elated Vanya Cullen to say she was over the moon to hear that her Cullen Diana Madeline 2011 had been judged Wine of the Year in The West Australian WA Wine Guide 2014, which is officially launched at the weekend.

Appropriate because the Moon played a major part in the making of the wine.

As a fanatical disciple of biodynamics, she follows a strict uncompromising approach to winemaking. Biodynamics are largely driven by the phases of the Moon, influencing everything from picking, to crushing to bottling.

"It's such a huge honour to have the 2011 Diana Madeline chosen by Ray Jordan as wine of the year 2014 and is a strong endorsement of our approach to winemaking," Ms Cullen said.

"We feel that in 2011 the biodynamics came together to make a transparent wine with great detail, balance and multilayered complexity in a great year where the blue, or super Moon, during harvest of the cabernet was closer to the Earth than it had been for 600 years."

The other major winner in the new guide was veteran WA winemaker Robert Bowen, who was awarded Winemaker of the Year award for his range of wonderful wines that appear under the Pemberley and Robert Bowen labels.

Mr Bowen also won gongs for best rose, chardonnay and white wine and was named Best Small Producer against stiff competition.

Margaret River producer Watershed got the award for overall Producer of the Year in addition to Best Value Wine for the Shades sauvignon blanc semillon 2012. Denmark producer Rockcliffe was awarded Most Improved.

This is the 14th edition of this guide to the best in WA wines and never before have I awarded such high scores, which is a strong reflection on the quality of recent vintages in this State as well as the continuing commitment of our winemakers and viticulturists to raise the bar ever higher each year.

While most wine producers across the State will tell you that selling wine is still a tough business despite the emergence of new markets such as China, there is no doubt that the quality of wines being produced from each of the State's regions has never been better.

The guide once again includes some amazing value for money wines from each of the State's nine wine producing regions, including a few new faces, some are highlighted in today's Saturday Magazine.

The West Australian Wine Guide is available at bookstores and newsagencies for $24.95. You can also buy it at westwineguide.com.au. For the first time, a smart phone app is also available. It is free when you buy the book or can be downloaded for $11.99

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