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Monday 28 November 2022

Meet wines exploring the essence of the biodynamic calendar

Here is one for the serious wine nerds.

Take two world-class chardonnays from the same vineyard made in almost identical manner.

The only real difference is that one was made from fruit picked on a flower day on the biodynamic calendar, and the other was made fruit picked on a fruit day.

The amazing thing is that the two wines do show distinct differences - and certainly provoke interesting discussion.

The wines in question are the Cullen 2021 Legacy Series Flower Day Kevin John Chardonnay and the Cullen 2021 Legacy Series Fruit Day Kevin John Chardonnay. Both are made in tiny quantities and retail for $350 a bottle.

So not wines for everyone, then.

Vanya Cullen explains that her father Kevin John "wanted to improve the breed and these small batches are made as an experimental series to make the best chardonnay".

Both artisanal Margaret River wines were hand harvested and after hand sorting the bunches were placed in amphora for two days of skin contact before pressing into 50% new puncheons to ferment, then resting in oak for eight months before bottling, with no fining or filtration.

Both wines are from the Cullen Vineyard and are 100% chardonnay. The "flower day" fruit was harvested on February 12 – a flower day. The "fruit day" wine was harvested on February 17 - an Apogee fruit day.

Both wines have, as you'd expect, a thread of commonality; structure and balance, but the flower day wine is a touch nervier, more highly strung and a little prettier.

The fruit day wine is a slightly bigger wine, more complete in its youth, I felt, with immense depth of flavour that filled the palate with myriad nuances.

The fruit day wine for me right now; the flower day for the cellar. But both paired brilliantly with red snapper.

In comparison, the standard 2021 Kevin John Chardonnay ($160) was harvested across three weeks including fruit and flower days and fermented naturally in biodynamic barrels, concrete eggs and amphorae. It sees less new oak.

For those keen to know more, go to

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