If one was to look back in time at the Australian industry’s glory days – pre the category collapse of 2008, you’ll see a heap of 92 – 96 point scores from the top critics for Oliverhill’s ‘Jimmy’s Section’ Shiraz. The brim of Seaview Road has much to do with the quality of the fruit that is grown here. Some of the top quality Shiraz growers are on this strip of dirt, along with some of
Australia’s greatest vineyards – like d’Arenberg’s Dead Arm vineyard across the street. Back in 2008, when the Aussie category began struggling at the higher price points, Stuart Miller made the decision to take the wine from this old vineyard and age it in used barrels instead of new ones. This enabled him to hit a $20 retail price point which gave birth to Red Silk Shiraz. The only difference between this and his famous “Jimmy’s Section Shiraz” is the oak treatment. (Jimmy’s Section is 100% new French oak). Winemaking is pretty simple here – hand picking, open tank fermenting, with persistent hand plunging, 100% basket pressing, French oak ageing and then finally, bottling unfiltered and unfined. Conspicuously absent is the slight menthol note that often accompanies McLaren Vale valley floor renditions of shiraz – what you’ll find in Stuart’s old vine shiraz is pure blueberry reduction, atop a luscious platform of mocha and ground coffee beans. THIS is textbook McLaren Vale Shiraz!
Medium to full-bodied with plenty of youthful blueberry and blackberry aromatics and flavors on offer. This wine has a solid backbone of medium to firm tannins with well integrated, refreshing acidity and finishes with good length.
The Oliverhill vineyard produces an average of 2.5 – 3 tons/acre. These vines are hand spur-pruned, and the harvest time is determined entirely by grape flavor. The fruit is destemmed and crushed into 3 ton open fermenters. The Shiraz is inoculated with Lalvin Syrah yeast. During ferment, hand plunging takes place four times a day or more. The wine is fermented to dryness on skins – for an average 12-14 days. It is then basket pressed, into tank, and left overnight to settle. From there it’s transferred to French (Sirugue, Nadalie and A.P. John) barrels, typically 1/3 new, 1/3 one-year old, and 1/3 two-year-old barriques. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel and the wine is then racked three times over 12-18 months. The wine is then coarse- filtered, lightly sulfured, and bottled. All processes take place on premise. Roughly 5000 cases are made of each vintage and all fruit is off their own vineyard.