Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec is the estates flagship red wine, a true icon wine of the Margaret River wine-growing region. It is made in honour of Dr Thomas Brendan Cullity. Amongst some of Cullity’s first plantings were Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec from which he produced the estate’s first red wine. The Tom Cullity descends from these original vines and represents the pinnacle of Vasse Felix.
Vasse Felix was founded in 1967 in Wilyabrup by Cullity. It was the very first winery to be established in the Margaret River wine-growing region of Western Australia. The winery is considered a true pioneer of the region. Dr Cullity had searched widely for his first vineyard site and eventually selected 8 acres in Wilyabrup which remain at the heart of the estate today.
The winery was purchased by the Gregg family in 1984. The Holmes à Court family then purchased the estate in 1987 and set about a period of expansion buying more vineyards but staying true to Cullity’s initial vision “to make the best possible wine.” The current owner and management of the estate is Paul Holmes à Court, the second generation of the family to rum Vasse Felix. Paul took over General Management of the Estate in 2005 and became the sole owner of Vasse Felix and its parent company, The Heytesbury Group in 2008. Virginia Willcock has been the winemaker since 2006 and since then she has twice been nominated for Australian Gourmet Traveller ‘Winemaker of the Year’ and was awarded the trophy for ‘Winemaker of the Most Outstanding Red or White Wine in Show’ at the 2011 Royal Adelaide Wine Show. There is a wide range of wines produced from icon wines like the Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon and the Heytesbury Chardonnay through to the Premier, Filius and Classics tiers.
The grapes for Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec are sourced from select blocks in the original Vasse Felix vineyard. All blocks were destemmed only without crushing and then allowed to ferment naturally. The Petit Verdot, Malbec and larger portion of Cabernet Sauvignon (making up 54%) were open fermented, hand plunged and pressed dry. The remaining 46% of the Cabernet and Malbec were static fermented, gently pumped over through a splash tub and then left on skins for up to 34 days, allowing the wine to stabilise and become structurally sound in such a brilliant year for tannin ripeness. The small sections were basket pressed to fine French oak (French Oak Barrique, 51% new, 49% 1-3 year old) and matured for only 16 months in this delicate vintage, with minimal racking.
The 2018 is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot.