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James Halliday
 
6 August 2020 | James Halliday

Our 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Results

 

Andrew Margan following in his late father's footsteps, entered the wine industry over 20 years ago working as a Flying Winemaker in Europe, then for Tyrell's. The growth of the Margan Family business over the following years has been the result of unremitting hard work and has a keen understanding of the opportunities Australia's most visited wine region provides. They have won inumberable awards in the tourism sector against competition in the Hunter Valley, across NSW and Australia-wide. The next generation looks similarly set to cover all bases when their parents retire: eldest son Ollie is finishing a double degree in winemaking and viticultural science at the University of Adelaide; daughter Alessa has just finished harvest in Central Otago and now working in the vineyard preparing the vines for 2021; and younger son James has completed his degree in economics at Sydney University. Andrew has continued to push the envelope in the range of wines made without losing focus on the varieties that have made the Hunter famous. He planted barbera in 1998 and since then has progressively added mourvedre, albarino, tempranillo and graciano. Exports to the UK, the US, Sweden and Hong Kong.

2014 Aged Release Shiraz

The Best of the Best: 2021 Varietal Winners Shiraz Category

97 Points

Released when 5yo, '14 following in the footsteps of '07 and '11. From estate vines then 40+yo, a mid-press fraction from each batch taken to new French oak to finish fermentation. The great colour signals a vibrant palate of pulsating red fruits, the length utterly exceptional. The balance gives the wine a life span Maurice O'Shea would have admired, and he only had corks. To 2042

2014 Aged Release Semillon

The Best of the Best: 2021 Varietal Winners Semillon Category

96 Points

Released in May '19 having moved along the development curve, bringing intense fruit in a green spectrum onto a bracing background of crunchy acidity. To 2030 

2018 White Label Fordwich Hill Shiraz

96 Points

Estate-grown on red volcanic soils with very low yield, matured for 10 months in 1yo French barriques. A great Hunter Valley vintage faithfully reflected in the bottle. Its elegance and texture are first class, the fine tannins asking how long into the future will they be married to the plum and cherry fruit. To 2043

2019 White Label Ceres Hill Semillon 

95 Points

30 year old vines on grey alluvial clay, the fruit naturally fermented on solids and held on yeast lees for an extended time. That winemaking approach has clearly provided some extra texture and fullness to the palate whilst retaining the expected freshness and acidity. The citrus, green herb and mineral characters are classic Hunter semillon. To drink now or cellar is win-win. To 2034

2015 Aged Release Semillon 

95 Points

Hand-picked, crushed and destemmed, cultured yeast, 5 years bottle age before release. Is 5 the magic number for Hunter semillon? No longer a pup, it starts to reveal a little more personality, of buttered toast, spiced apple, lantana and fig. Soft and spicy, we start to see the integration of fruit and acidity with just a hint of sweet pear. Bright and juicy acidity sweeps the mouth clean. To 2031

2019 White Label Albarino 

95 Points

Hand-picked, crushed and destemmed, wild ferment on full solids, extended contact on lees. A Spanish grape making itself at home in this country, fitting in largely because it enjoys warm, maritime regions and keeps its acidity. This is another great release from Margan who is helping lead the way with the variety. Honeysuckle, grapefruit pith, lemon-lime zest and striking lemony acidity are hallmarks, but it is the oyster shell, saline zip throughout that really makes you sit up and notice. To 2027

2018 White Label BC4 Shiraz 

95 Points

From a block of 50yo shiraz vines grafted to six clones sourced from heritage vineyards in Pokolbin. This is from a single clone chosen to highlight the fresh fruit flavours achieved with limited oak influence and early bottling. The '18 vintage also helped. To 2032

2018 White Label Saxonvale Shiraz Mourvedre

95 Points

From low-yielding 60yo estate vines, the 80/20% blend co-fermented and matured for 18 months in French barriques (10% new). An expressive fruit-driven bouquet is parlayed into a medium-bodied, elegant palate of red and black fruits. Impressive wine, freshness and balance both attributes. To 2038

2019 Rose & Bramble Rose

94 Points

An esoteric blend, primarily of merlot and barbera, with a portion barrel-fermented. The rose of the name is a reflection of the bouquet, not the style, and there is much to be enjoyed with this blend in both terms of sour cherry flavours and mouthfeel. To 2022

2018 White Label Saxonvale Mourvedre

94 Points

Usually part of the field blend, and is in fact the first 100% mourvedre made in the Hunter Valley so far. Several rows of the varietal were identified and picked, then vinified as a single parcel. It's a very persuasive example of mourvedre grown half a hemisphere away from its European home. To 2033

2019 White Label Fordwich Hill Semillon

93 Points

Sourced from 50yo vineyards on the red volcanic soils of the Broke-Fordwich sub-region. Fermented cool without solids and minimal yeast contact. Lemon and lemongrass aromas and flavours, crisp acidity on the finish but softer through the palate than expected with some fruit sweetness as well. It's good, and will benefit from cellaring of course. To 2032

2014 Ripasso

93 Points

A complex winemaking technique is employed here involving different vintages and different varieties with '14 Hunter shiraz the basis. Ultimately the region and the variety hold sway despite the tinkering, the distinctive red berry and earthy characters coming through on the bouquet and palate. It's showing some development now and will continue to age well. To 2026

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