A Red Moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the light filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere dapples the moon in red light. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on the 11th of February 2017 during harvest. Fruit from the Mangan Vineyard was hand harvested, fermented naturally and basket pressed to French oak.
Cullen Wines have been very successful in meeting their aim of producing a wine which, while fruit driven, is of such high quality that it will develop for several years under good cellaring conditions.
This wine was made from a carefully selected blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot grown on the Mangan Vineyard, which has been shown to be ideally suited to nurturing these grape varieties.
It was a surprise and joy beyond our expectations to experience the 2017 harvest. I think it’s fair to say that it was challenging in both the vineyard and winery, however such conditions have delivered great rewards! Spanning three months, harvest commenced with Cullen Chardonnay on the 8th February, a Moon Opposite Saturn flower day. The last harvests being the Mangan Vineyard Malbec and Petit Verdot, the dates coinciding with the full moon and flower days on the 11th and 12th of April.
It was a classic, traditional wet winter, followed by slightly cooler than average spring and summer temperatures. This allowed for excellent canopy growth, good slow accumulation of flavour and ripeness in the fruit, maintaining well composed acidity, resulting in brilliantly balanced fruit, naturally. Excellent yields across all varieties were equally matched to quality. We were hoping for better quantities of grapes with quality to match and after three years of tiny yields we finally had the quantities we were hoping for.
The 2016-17 growing season, had above average rainfall for the calendar year, 1070mm, up 17% on average, and slightly cooler, below average temperatures for the spring and summer of the 2017 vintage.
Bud-burst dates were on par, however cold and stormy weather in October contributed to a slow start. Fine conditions in November, with below average rainfall and above average temperatures, allowed the growing season to really get going, veraison only slightly delayed.
Above average rainfall for the month of March 2017, with rain falling on over 30% of the days for the month made harvest decisions tricky. However, below average rainfall and fine weather for the month of April supplied a nice finish for the 2017 vintage. We had three moon opposite Saturn events (one each month). I would say that it was a great vintage for all varieties but in particular chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon.
2017 was a vintage of great quality and quantity.