2018 Off-Sweet Vermouth
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With 40 years of winemaking experience making premium Hunter Valley Semillon Andrew Margan sat down with his barman son Ollie and decided the perfect Vermouth could be made from the Semillon grape as a base using home grown herbs and spices for the aromatics. The palate of the vermouth needed balance between bitterness and aromatics that allowed it to sit perfectly in a Negroni or be consumed just with ice. Hence the Margan Vermouth project was born and the first varietal, regional, vintage Vermouth, made from Hunter Valley Semillon, has been produced.  

Tasting Notes

This off-sweet style of vermouth was designed to subtly compliment the gin or rye used in many classic cocktails. It has a palate that balances bitterness and aromatics without being overly sweet, allowing it to sit perfectly in a Negroni or to be consumed over ice. The aromas of liquorice, orange peel, cinnamon transfer to a semi sweet palate of thyme, lemon balm and spring honey.


After much experimentation, Andrew, Ollie and the winery team agreed on the perfect blend of botanicals to use to make the vermouth with the majority of the 24 herbs and spices used being grown in the Margan Kitchen Garden. Old vine Semillon from the 2018 vintage was used as the base wine for the Vermouth to contribute excellent acidity and subtle primary flavours of citrus. Some of this base wine was sent to be distilled and used to steep the selected 24 botanicals, before being basket pressed and added back to the Semillon base wine. A combination of honey from our Margan bee hives and 2018 botrytis Semillon was added to produce a beautiful off-sweet red vermouth.

Suggested Cocktail Recipes


30ml Margan Off-Sweet Vermouth

30ml Farmers Wife Gin

30ml Campari

Serve in a short glass with crushed ice.

Top with aranciata rosso and garnish with a twist of orange peel

Vermouth Cobbler

45ml Margan Off-Sweet Vermouth

45ml Fresh Orange juice

10ml  sugar syrup (1:1 sugar/water)

Build in a tall glass with crushed ice and garnish with a citrus wheel

Margan Spritzer

30ml Margan Off-Sweet Vermouth

30ml Margan Botrytis Semillon

15ml fresh lime juice

Build in short glass with crushed ice and top with Margan Blanc de Blancs

View Tasting Notes
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Picture of 2018 Ceres Hill Barbera

2018 Ceres Hill Barbera


Margan Barbera was the variety that established us as ‘pioneers of alternative varieties’. Andrew is a big fan of Italian varieties and we researched this grape to see if it would work here in the Hunter. Back in the late 1990’s the region mainly had the standard line up of iconic Hunters – Semillon, Shiraz and also Chardonnay- and we wanted to see what else would work. Barbera originates from the North West of Italy and we were the first to plant this red grape here in 1998. It’s a long story but the clone we have planted is an Italian original and produces wines of true varietal definition and Italian personality.

Growing Season

The 2018 vintage had perfect ripening conditions with dry, warm days paired with cooler nights resulting in beautifully ripe and healthy fruit which we picked early February.


Our Barbera vineyard was planted In 1998 with cuttings from an original Italian clone on our Ceres Hill vineyard, just behind the winery on a streak of red volcanic soil. The great thing about Barbera is that it holds its acidity while achieving full flavour (phenological) ripeness making It very suitable to growing In the changing climate.


We hand pick the grapes at optimal ripeness and ferment under cool conditions using cultured, aromatic yeast. The wine was placed in a mixture of small and large older French oak barriques (225 litres) and puncheons (500 litres) where it matured for 12 months prior to bottling.

Tasting Notes

The wine is vivid purple in its youth with lifted aromas of red fruits- strawberry, raspberry, cherry and red current. The palate reflects the nose but also has savoury bramble berry and fresh mulberry notes. Touches of spicy star anise add extra interest and the tannins are soft and silky. The bright acidity gives a long, refreshing finish.

Wine Composition

pH                                                          3.44

Titratable Acidity                                7.0g/L

Alcohol                                                  14.0%

Residual Sugar                                     <1g/L

Food Match

It is a great food wine as the acid cuts through richer red meats like lamb. It matches well with hard cheese and is lighter in body and alcohol than many red wines. 

Cellaring Potential


Picture of 2016 Ripasso

2016 Ripasso


Ripasso is the Italian term used in reference to the re-passing of a wine from one ferment over the skins of another. In our case we have passed some of our 2016 vintage shiraz from our 40-year-old Timbervines vineyard over the skins of several different varieties from the 2017 vintage. The mystery for the drinker is to figure out what skins we have used for the re-fermentation.

Growing Season

The 2016 vintage was a cooler vintage In the Hunter Valley producing more elegant softer styles of Shiraz. This base wine was passed over the 2017 vintage which was a warmer vintage and enabled us to build more body and stronger tannins In to the 2016 base wine.


The fruit that makes up the Shiraz base wine from 2016 was handpicked off 40yr old vines grown on the rich red volcanic soils of the Fordwich Sill. We choose a block that has the ability to build more complexity in to the fruit. The skins that we pass this wine over are chosen based on the vineyards that are performing best that particular year, as well as what additional nuances of tannin and flavour will complement the base wine to build complexity.


Only in very good vintages like 2016 do I keep a small volume of top-quality shiraz in reserve in oak to re-ferment it over another later excellent vintage. It must be a vintage where we get perfectly ripe fruit to ensure the finished wine has taken up only ripe tannins and fruit characters. The base wine from 2016 had plush fruit and elegant aromatics with medium tannins and it was re-fermented over different varieties in the 2017 vintage. This has given the wine lots of dense tannins and deep complex fruit characters. It has spent nearly two years in small new and two-year old French oak barriques. This wine is fun to make and is different every year we make it!

Tasting Notes

Medium - Full bodied displaying a subtle combination of spice, plush black forest fruit and tobacco like coupled with nuances of violet and blue fruits and firm velvety tannins.

Wine Composition

pH                                                           3.46

Titratable Acidity                                   6.7g/L

Alcohol                                                   13.5%

Residual Sugar                                       <1g/L 

Food Match

Wagyu brisket, mushroom, celeriac and glazed onion

Cellaring Potential

15 - 20 years


Silver Medal Hunter Valley Wine Show 2019

Silver Medal Sydney Wine Show 2019