2010 M53 Shiraz- the back story….

Drum roll please……today the Oliver family is very proud to release a new icon Shiraz.  A labour of love and careful management from the grapes to the wine is finally out in the public domain! It has been very exciting working with this wine, and we have been living and breathing it for years, but we though that you may want some more information about how this new wine came about exactly.


I suppose we need to start with the 2010 vintage! A spectacular vintage in McLaren Vale, it went very smoothly, there were no heat spikes or serious rain events- it was almost like the good old days before climate change!! All the varieties shone in 2010, but Shiraz was a stand out. A number of our blocks went off to Penfolds for Grange, and the parcels that we took for Oliver’s Taranga looked stunning from on the vine right the way through ferment and into barrel. I had to take a small break in April as at our end of vintage party, I went into labour and had a little baby boy, Koen, that night- but I digress…

The Rayments block was only a small 1.96t parcel, picked on the 24th of Feb 2010. Rayments Block is situated on Oliver’s Road, on the eastern side of the road. It was planted in 1993, and has had a long history of contributing to icon wines for other winemakers.  Coming in at 14.4 baume (sugar level- roughly translates into alcohol level), 3.54 pH and 6.4 TA (acid level), it was put through the awesome sorting table, destemmer and crusher at Yangarra, and popped into our 2t stainless fermenter. The ferment was chilled (cold-soaked) for 3 days, before being allowed to naturally warm up and ferment with indigenous yeasts. A two week ferment on skins, before being basket pressed off, and popped into new French oak hogsheads (300L barrels). That accounts for all of the stats for the wine nerds out there…

Rayment's Vineyard
Rayment’s Vineyard

What was awesome about this block, was from the very outset it was lifted with aromas overflowing, and it was concentrated and just seemed to have layer upon layer upon layer of complexity. It would normally have been a component of our HJ Reserve Shiraz, but as I tasted the wines development over time, always keeping it seperate, it just started to scream out for its own label. To be bottled as a stand alone block, to show what can happen when stars align.

The next part  of the story started a really, really long time ago- back in the 1880’s. Second generation, Archibald Oliver, had run of the Taranga property. He was still engaged in mixed farming, having vineyards as well as fruit trees, cropping, cattle, sheep and horses. In 1886 he applied for a horse and cattle brand- M53 was born. Brioni and I really liked the funny shaped M, and we even found an old wooden brand hidden in all the historical documents.

The original brand document from 1886

The horses and cattle are no longer on the Taranga property, now that we are pretty much 100% vineyards. So we decided to bring back the M53 brand as our icon Shiraz. Made only in tiny batches (1200 bottles of the 2010 M53 were made),  and only in years where one particular block sings- this wine is the ultimate for the Oliver’s Taranga collector and those who really want to experience the best of a vintage and a place. A place with a long and interesting history, and hopefully an even longer and more exciting future.