MMAD Vineyard is the venture of four men, two of whom are Masters of Wine, and two are highly regarded winemakers with many years of fine wine experience. The name is derived from the first letter of the Christian name of each: Martin Shaw, Michael Hill Smith, Adam Wadewitz and David LeMire. The first two founded the Adelaide Hills-based Shaw + Smith in 1989, and continue to own it, while Adam and David are now co-CEOs at Shaw + Smith, Adam chief winemaker and David head of sales and marketing.
The quartet has worked on the single vineyard developments of Tolpuddle Vineyard in Tasmania and Shaw + Smith wines from Balhannah and Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills. Their collaboration with MMAD is the first common ownership, but they know each other very well, likewise the fine wine world on a global stage. What began as an inchoate idea of working with grenache took an early decision to search for a vineyard in Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, but took rather longer in door-knocking possible sites.
In early 2021 they found an outstanding property with 3ha of grenache planted in 1939, 5.4ha of shiraz, the oldest planted 1941, and 3ha of chenin blanc, the oldest planted 1964. It is generally agreed that the magic of Blewitt Springs is its fine Maslin sands, not encountered elsewhere in McLaren Vale, coupled with their elevation that exposes the vines to fresh see breezes. Certain patches have an unseen layer of ironstone that adds both structure and complexity to the beautiful perfume of the grenache grown on the sands. Old vines magnify the blend of lightness and intensity.
The partners moved swiftly in taking possession and making three great wines that had the added advantage of the great 2021 vintage. Their aim for the future is to continuously improve soil and vine health, and promote diversity of plants and insects. They say ‘The vineyard pre-dates us and will outlive us, and we have a great opportunity to help it thrive during our time farming it.’
2021 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Shiraz
Deep, bright colour announces a wine of tremendous presence, the whole bunch component 15-20%, 15 days on skins, 33% in concrete vessels, the balance in stainless steel and used oak. A magical combination of techniques to produce blackberry, licorice and dark chocolate flavours, the tannins so fine they are almost silky.
97 points, drink to 2041, 13.5% alc, Screwcap, $75
2021 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Grenache
Its clarity matches its freshness; 10% whole bunches, 90% whole berry, spent 20 days in Italian-made tulip-shaped concrete 4-tonne fermenters, then matured 15 months in old French puncheons. The highly fragrant blend of cherry and plum drives a very long, fine and elegant palate.
97 points, drink to 2032, 14% alc, Screwcap, $75
2021 MMAD Vineyard Blewitt Springs Chenin Blanc
Hand-picked, half whole bunch-pressed to used French puncheons for fermentation, the balance crushed into concrete tulip-shaped vessels before maturation in used French puncheons. The blend of components gave rise to textured, layered citrus peel flavours sewn together by a shaft of glistening acidity.
95 points, drink to 2036, 12.5% alc, Screwcap, $48