Monday 27 September 2010



GO exotic with this and a sauté
of white beans, Spanish morcilla,
scallops and picada
David Ellis

ASK most winemakers in the Hunter Valley about the 2008 vintage and they'd more than likely tell you it was one they'd happily forget about – except Andrew Margan who got the fruit for his White Label Shiraz Mourvedre off the vines before the arrival of the rains that did so much harm to others' crops.

His in fact were probably the only red grapes picked in the Lower Hunter before the rains, and while he got only enough fruit for 300 cases, every bottle of this wine – the only such blend made in the Hunter – is one to search out. (If you can't find it phone 02 6579 1317 or check-out

Andrew's two grape varieties are inter-planted and always picked together, in 2008 yielding around just a tonne of quality fruit from every hectare of the 40 year old vines. When made into wine it was good enough go to under the Margan Family Winemakers' White Label that was created in 2003 purely for small batches of wines that stand-out from others in the Margan range.

The 2008 White Label is 85 per cent Shiraz and 15 per cent Mourvedre, resulting in nice spicy-savoury flavours from the Shiraz and a dusty richness from the Mourvedre, while savoury tannins balance out the middle palate.

IDEAL with crisp-skin salmon,
garlicky mash and steamed asparagus
Pay $30, and as Andrew Margan himself enjoys, serve with an exotic but easy to make sauté of white beans, Spanish morcilla, scallops and picada.

ONE FOR LUNCH:  A VINEYARD planted to Chardonnay amongst the predominantly red vines of Coonawarra is used by Brand's to show just how happily this block has found itself at home in generally red-wine country.

The 2008 Brand's Laira is a bigger-style Chardonnay, full-bodied with vibrant stone-fruit flavours and hints of cashew nut and creamy oak characters; at $21.99 it's excellent buying to enjoy with crisp-skin salmon, garlicky mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.


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