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Oliverhill

McLaren Vale, Australia
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Oliverhill is a small boutique winery located in McLaren Vale, South Australia. McLaren Vale has been referred to as the middle palate of Australian wine. Linda and Stuart Miller own this winery, which was founded in 1973, and is near the spectacular Onkaparinga Gorge National Park.

They specialize in premium quality, limited production reds. Specifically, a single vineyard Shiraz, “Jimmy Section”, coming from a small 5-acre plot, planted 47 years ago, a Cabernet Sauvignon, grown on the lower section of the same vineyard along with some Durif, and their “Red Silk” Shiraz, also from their home vineyard.

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Oliverhill is an actual strip of dirt situated on famous Seaview Rd., along which arguably some of the best fruit in Australia is grown. At the base of the hill are wineries such as d'Arenberg (their Dead Arm Vineyard is directly across the street) and Maxwell's, and further along the road, Kay Brothers (known for Block 6 Shiraz) and Coriole. There are also various high quality growers up on this hill, and the fruit that is grown along this road often makes its way in to Penfolds Grange and the famous Rosemount Balmoral label. And then, right in the thick of all this, is a this tiny property owned by the Millers.

The wines from here represent the most classic elements that one expects from this special part of McLaren Vale - big and juicy with sweet blueberry notes, interwoven with mocha and bitter chocolate, broad shouldered with substantial palate presence, maintaining balance and exceptional fruit intensity.

All four reds are produced in an extremely limited format with total production hovering around 3000 cases (12/750ml). The Miller's are producing hand-crafted wines that are truly artisan in style. They will never produce a lot of wine, but what they do produce will always be of the highest quality.

A newly acquired “Nine Gums” vineyard, 20 acres of premium Shiraz, planted 25 years ago on rich Urrbrea loam soils, provides Oliverhill with the additional fruit resources they require. Sustainable vineyard practices, minimal intervention hand-crafted wines, are what Oliverhill wines represent.

The Oliverhill vineyards produce an average of 2.5 tons to the acre, the vines are hand spur-pruned, and the fruit is picked determined by flavor. The fruit is crushed and destemmed into 3 and 5 ton open fermenters. Hand-plunging and pump overs take place three or more times a day. The wine is fermented to dryness on skins, average 12-14 days. It is then gently pressed into tank, left overnight to settle, then into barrels, typically one-third new, one-third one-year-old, and one-third two-year-old French 300 L Hogsheads. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel, with wine maturation over 12-18 months.

The wine is then coarse filtered and bottled for immediate enjoyment, or longer-term cellaring.

[As soon as the "Jimmy Section Shiraz" landed in U.S.A., the wine appealed to a number of the trade who swiftly ordered every case brought into the country. One person referred to it as "liquid sex" after tasting it. You get the idea. This is a sensationally voluptuous, rich, full-bodied, highly-extracted yet velvety-textured, old vine Shiraz with an opaque blue/purple colour, a spectacularly aromatic nose (black and blue fruits, creosote, smoke, and graphite), huge body, great concentration, and a compelling seamlessness. Given today's wine prices, it is an unequivocal bargain. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. (Robert Parker on the 2001 Jimmy Section Shiraz. 93 points)]