2020 Super Margs, Margaret River $50.00
94 Points – Halliday Wine Companion
“Sweet and juicy fruit upfront in a typically Australian way: glossy, juicy, bouncy and right behind the teeth. The prodigious (yet fine) tannins follow up right behind it, drawing out the fruit into a long finish.” Erin Larkin
Our 2020 ‘Super Margs’ draws influence from the highly sought after and respected Super Tuscan wines of Italy, which are made from non-indigenous varieties. After patiently waiting vintage after vintage for Sangiovese fruit, and having finally secured high quality fruit going forward, we decided to make a diversion from the regionally popular Cabernet Merlot blend and instead create a French Italian influenced, modern style wine – Sangiovese Cabernet.
The ripe fruit of the Cabernet Sauvignon provides richness and flavour, while the Sangiovese provides youthfulness, aromatics and overall acid to the blend. This wine is a little heavier than a medium bodied wine and shows off some great fruit and well-integrated tannins.
Our 2020 ‘Super Margs’ continues to draw influence from the highly sought after and respected Super Tuscan wines of Italy, which are typically made from Sangiovese and blended with non-indigenous varieties, in our case, the king of the Reds in Margaret River – Cabernet Sauvignon. Following on from our first Super Margs release in 2019, we have ‘upped the ante’ and taken it a step further by hand selecting the best fruit and barrels for this wine, and finished off the process by bottling with cork and wax to highlight the rare expression, elegance and sophistication of this wine style.
2020 was an unusual vintage for Margaret River. Harvest started almost a month earlier than usual, yields were significantly lower, ripening conditions were near on perfect, the marri blossomed, and the last half of vintage was conducted in COVID-19 lockdown! Although 2020 was a challenging year around the globe, in Margaret River we have been very fortunate with exceptional fruit quality – albeit with lower yields. The lower yields were due to the smaller berries and bunch sets which were a factor from the 2018 conditions on the preparation of the fruitful nodes, as well as some wet weather impact during flowering and fruit set. Although production volumes were down, the small berries have provided exceptional fruit due to the concentration and the skin to flesh ratio. The somewhat restrained weather pattern toward the end of ripening made for elegant flavours across the board with the reds.
Apart from rain during flowering, the rest of the ripening conditions were ideal with warmer than average conditions and no rainfall, bird, or disease pressure. These warm conditions brought the red harvest on early and we found that the sustaining natural acid levels allowed us to let the fruit hang a little longer to achieve tannin ripeness and the optimal flavour profiles with this more structured style.
The Sangiovese comes from a vineyard within the Wilyabrup subregion, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested from our vineyard that we naturally farm in the Wallcliffe subregion. Both parcels of fruit were carefully hand harvested in late March after being allowed to remain longer on vine to achieve measurable softening and ripening of tannins.
The grapes were first cold soaked for 24-48 hours to extract colour and tannins before being destemmed and gently crushed into small open fermenters where they were fermented on skins with indigenous yeast and gentle hand plunging for 12 days. From there, the fruit was basket pressed into a mixture of one-year old Hungarian and French oak barrels. The wine was then matured on oak for a period of nine months before the best barrels were selected for this wine. The wine was then matured further in bottle before Autumnal release. The decision to use Hungarian oak was influenced from our time spent in Italy, where this was the preferred oak when working with Super Tuscan styles where the tighter grain tends to bring out a leaner, spicier element of the flavour profile of the oak. The stylistic aim of the winemaking was to continue to showcase a fruit forward wine with natural acidity and balanced savouriness, along with more structure and tannin focus.
In a glass the wine presents with a wonderful inky core with a lighter crimson hue.
The nose shows lifted aromas of blackcurrant and hints of dark chocolate.
The palate is rich and smoothly textured, yet displays youthfulness and vibrancy. The ripe fruit of the Cabernet Sauvignon provides richness and flavour, while the Sangiovese provides youthfulness, aromatics and overall acid to the blend. The Cabernet also contributes classic layers of plums, and a touch of clove thanks to the French oak portion whilst the Sangiovese maintains spiciness from the Hungarian oak. This wine has a little more complexity mid-palate and a rich texture, which shows off wonderful fruit and well-integrated tannins.