Winemaker Ollie Margan has gone back to his roots. After a decade of vintages abroad, a winemaking degree in Adelaide, and a long stint running cocktail bar Maybe Mae, he’s returned to his family’s Hunter Valley property to reconnect with the 100 hectares of vineyards and volcanic soils he grew up on.
“It was always the plan,” says Margan. “COVID pulled the rug out from under everything but it gave me the impetus to move on to my next chapter. I’ve rediscovered my love for farming and have never been happier.”
His Breaking Ground range is a new addition to the Margan Wines offering. Margan selects fruit from blocks with which he has a particular affinity.
“It’s an opportunity to do things differently. This is about letting personality and expression come into the wines by using a gentler hand in the winery.”
Margan Breaking Ground Albarino 2021, Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley, NSW
This pert white is all about varietal definition. This head-snapping Portuguese whipper snapper spent time on skins (though there’s no cloudiness in the glass – it’s clear and crisp as a spring Hunter Valley morning) and kicked back in a concrete tank called Cleopatra. The result is texture and life-affirming acid – grapefruit, lime and green apple pith cut laps around the palate. Mouth-watering long after the last sip. 12 per cent alcohol.
Margan Breaking Ground Barbera 2021, Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley, NSW
Winemaker Ollie Margan wants to find little ways to put a lens on his family’s vineyards. Like the 1998 Ceres Hill Vineyard from which these Italian grapes were plucked (early, by all accounts). The use of the whole bunch resulted in a poised, electric energy, like a meerkat on high alert. It delivers a flurry of tart cherries, green stems, and punky tannin. One for barbecues or long Zoom gasbags with mates. Go hard on the salty snacks. 13 per cent alcohol.
Margan Breaking Ground Shiraz 2021, Broke Fordwich, Hunter Valley, NSW
Of all Ollie Margan’s new wines, this one best captures the direction in which he is heading. It is thrilling, challenging and ultimately euphoric, a bit like rock-climbing. The fruit came from the Margan family’s 40-year-old Timbervines site and the earthy, volcanic soil seems to permeate the glass. A full-frontal vineyard immersion. It’s not your typical shiraz; this is light, perky, tart and utterly beguiling. Margan’s future is bright. 13 per cent alcohol.