To be honest, we were all but weeping for joy when we discovered what the sommeliers had done at Cottesloe’s beach side Italian canteen, Il Lido. To our knowledge – and the Il Lido people confirm this – there has never been anything like it, anywhere: a vertical tasting of every Cullen Diana Madeline ever made. Yep, you read that correctly.

Cullen boss and winemaker Vanya Cullen has been making the prestigious Bordeaux style cabernet since 2001, as a tribute to her remarkable mother, Di Cullen. And Il Lido sommelier James Tuxworth has managed to negotiate a release of every DM vintage over a series of visits to meet with Vanya in Margaret River. It helps that Vanya is a regular diner – and big fan – at Il Lido.

Even more remarkably, the prices are very reasonable. The most expensive of the 16 vintages on offer, the 2001 Diana Madeline, is just $450. Some of the more celebrated and newer vintages are also well priced. The staggeringly good 2010 vintage is $325.

Our vain hope is that Il Lido will put all or some of the vintages under gas, so that we humble punters can have taster-size glasses of a few vintages over dinner. At this stage though, they will sell only by the bottle. Our advice? Take a big party of friends, book out an entire long table and shout yourselves to a dozen(ish) bottles of various vintages of the Diana Madeline. Which is exactly what the WA Good Food Guide team will be doing in coming weeks. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and life’s too short to wonder “What if…?”

Published: Friday March 23, 2018

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