The Maxwell Vineyards
The Maxwell estate vineyards are some of the most favourably positioned in the McLaren Vale district. These ninety acres lie on south facing slopes and alluvial flats, within walking distance (just north) of the McLaren Vale township’s main street. Varieties grown in our vineyards include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Verdelho and Malbec.
Set on ancient limestone, and in such proximity to the moderating effects of the Gulf of St Vincent, the conditions in the vineyards are ideal for producing small batches of the highest quality grapes, full of intense character. The oldest vineyard on the property, planted to Grenache, was established in the 1930’s; the old Ellen Street Shiraz block below the winery being established in 1953. These Shiraz vines consistently produce some of the best fruit on the estate. The block sits on alluvial red-brown clay over limestone, and is typically one of the earliest ripening Shiraz blocks in the region.
One notable vineyard on the estate sits north of the Winery on the crest of Lumb’s Hill. Identified as a 1972 planting of ‘Reynella Selection Cabernet Sauvignon’, it originates from vines brought into South Australia by noted Australian wine industry pioneer John Reynell over 150 years ago. Back in the mid-1850s, John Reynell planted some of the earliest vineyards in South Australia, in an area just north of McLaren Vale collecting vine cuttings from South Africa on his way from England. One hundred years later, then vineyard manager Noel Chapman found that particular vines on the property kept producing noticeably more flavoursome berries, so he undertook a process of vine selection to create a new vineyard from only those vines that bore superior fruit. These Cabernet Sauvignon vines became known as the ‘Reynella Selection’, and have been shown to be perfectly suited to the McLaren Vale climate for many years. Our vines were taken directly from this Reynella vineyard, and planted over 3 decades ago in shallow topsoil over solid limestone and this is the fruit that contributes to the Maxwell Lime Cave Cabernet being acclaimed worldwide.
The 2010 publication of the ‘Geology of the McLaren Vale Wine Region’ highlighted the specific characteristics of the Maxwell estate vineyards. The area around the winery comprises alluvial grey-brown loam over limestone – specifically Blanche Point Formation with Tortachilla Limestone. The geology of this area was created 56 – 34 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch, hence the name given to a single vineyard wine the Maxwell Eocene.
For more information on the world-renowned McLaren Vale wine region, please visit www.mclarenvale.info.