Wine review — Cullen, Barton Estate & Shaw Vineyard Estate

Cullen Margaret River

  • Diana Madeline 2005 $90
  • Chardonnay 2005 $60

Cullen 2005 is an extraordinary chardonnay – one that slips down deceptively easily but builds in interest as the level drops in the bottle. Here’s a few notes from a recent tasting, ‘near perfect – seamless, with wonderful richness, silky, fine texture… gets better with every sip … hard to say goodbye to the last drop’. Diana Madeline – a cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec cabernet franc, petit verdot blend, named for winemaker Vanya Cullen’s late mother – is in a similar subtle, slow-building mould. It’s limpid, delicately fragrant and intensely flavoured – but also elegant and beautifully balanced. It, too, slips down easily, and one bottle just doesn’t seem enough.

Barton Estate Canberra District Riesling 2004 $18
A glass of Barton Estate 2004 is one of the best arguments you’ll find for local riesling. At three years’ it’s showing the first honeyed edges of bottle age – without having lost the freshness of youth. In the local show recently we awarded it a silver medal after debating what else it might come up against in open competition. Roger Harris made the wine at Brindabella Hills Winery under contract for Bob Furbank and Julie Chitty of Barton Estate Vineyard, Murrumbateman. This is definitely a brand to watch. And at $18 this is definitely a riesling to be drinking. Enquiries to Bob and Julie, phone 02 6230 9553 or email

Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
  • Cabernet Merlot 2004
  • Cabernet Shiraz 2004 $22

Former builder Graeme Shaw sends fruit from his 32-hectare Murrumbateman vineyard to Griffith for winemaking. And, as our regional reputation builds increasingly on shiraz, Graeme puts an argument forward for cabernet sauvignon – both straight and blended with merlot or shiraz. Certainly the wines are well made, delicious and laden with gold, silver and bronze medals — and the odd trophy. I’ve tasted them three times in the past year, awarding the cabernet and cabernet shiraz silver medals at the regional show last month. These remain my favourites – especially the cabernet shiraz – though all of the wines drink well. See

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007