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Margan Family Shiraz 2006
The grapes for this wine were picked from forty year old vines growing on the red basalt volcanic clay of our Timbervines Vineyard. With an average yield of only one tonne per acre the fruit for this wine was intensely concentrated in flavour. The drought vintage coupled with our use of 30% of the juice for our saignee has increased the concentration of this wine. The grapes were picked at full ripeness and were fermented under cool conditions using cultured aromatic yeast. After fermentation the wine was placed in older oak hogsheads for a period of eighteen months to allow it to soften and mature without gaining overt oak characters. The wine was bottled in January 2008
I enjoy making wines that show their sense of place. The Hunter Valley produces some of the most regionally unique styles of wine in the world. Every variety I grow has its own unique set of characters and structure that are affected significantly by the climate they enjoy, the soil they are produced from and the winemaking style I prefer. The quality of Margan is controlled from the vineyard right through to the consumer.
All of our wines are produced from our old vine, low yielding vineyards. The volcanic soils of the Fordwich Sill that nourish our vines produce excellent quality grapes that achieve optimal ripeness of flavour, colour and tannin. The wines that I can make from these grapes have great texture, structure and richness which are a true expression of the vineyard they come from. We produce a richer, softer Hunter style of wine.
In most cases I prefer to not interfere too much with what nature has provided and as such allow the flavour and characters of the fruit shine through to the wine. Minimal use of oak ensures that it is fruit intensity and natural structure that underpin my wines. The wines of the Hunter generally have excellent natural acidity which ensures they mature well and drink well with food. On the whole, I choose to not blend wines from different vineyards or varieties because I firmly believe that each wine should be true expressions of its variety and region.
Even as a hot subtropical growing region, the Hunter Valley region on the eastern side of Australia produces world-renowned and admired white wines from the Semillon grape.
Hunter Valley Semillons are known to achieve such fresh and bracing acidity levels that while they can be enjoyed in their youth, evolution typically brings their best qualities forward. Most will develop favorably for upwards of 10 to 20 years. These wines are fairly low in alcohol and when young, can be tart and citrus-driven whites with piquant herbal and mineral notes. The best examples, when aged, develop notes of caramel, honey, browned butter and roasted nuts. Some are fermented or matured in oak but it is often undetectable in this fresh style.
Soils in the Hunter Valley are volcanic basalt and white alluvial sands, favorable for aroma development in Semillon.
While winter and spring drought is common, summer and fall brings a good deal of precipitation. Warm summer nights allow the Semillon vines to ripen with haste but constant cloud cover in the fall reduces vine stress and the impact of their heat load. Ripening comes early end of January early February, equivalent to early August in the northern hemisphere.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.