The wines of Mitolo
An exciting producer from Australia's McLaren Vale

PO BOX 520, Virginia, SA 5120 Australia
Website: www.mitolowines.com.au 

Mitolo is a relatively new label that is a collaborative venture between star Barossa winemaker Ben Glaetzer and Frank Mitolo, beginning in 1999. Frank's family roots are Italian, and his day job is running the family's international horticultural business. He provides the capital. Ben became a partner in 2001, and provides the winemaking knowledge. (You can read an interview with Ben here.)

The majority of the grapes come from a grower in Woolunga at the southern end of the McLaren Vale. The growerís family is Italian and knows Frankís parents. Jester is the name for the entry-level wines, which offer lovely fruit purity. The higher-end reds are fantastic, and include the Amarone-method Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon, and the GAM and Savitar Shirazes.

What makes these wines so impressive is that Ben's winemaking manages to produce quite powerful wines that also possess freshness and definition - this is quite a challenge in a warm wine-growing region such as the McLaren Vale. 

UK agent: Liberty Wines

THE WINES

From a tasting in January 2011:

Mitolo Jester Vermentino 2010
Just 10% alcohol. Very fresh, bright and lemony with real intensity and crisp acidity. Refreshing stuff. 89/100

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2009
Ripe, sweet and berryish on the nose. The palate is bold, broad and sweetly fruited with creamy blackberry fruit. Good focus. 89/100

Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
25% amarone method. Lovely pure, dark fruit aromatics. Bold, sweet, lush palate with well defined blackcurrant fruit and a nice spicy edge. Great definition. 90/100

Mitolo GAM Shiraz 2007
Dense, rich, spicy and subtly earthy with real concentration. Hints of tar. Very rich style with good structure. 92/100

Mitolo Savitar Shiraz 2007
Dense, sweet, spicy and slightly meaty with powerful flavours of rich berry fruits. Hints of tar and mint, too. 91/100

Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
100% amarone method. Beautifully aromatic with sweet blackcurrant fruit. Vibrant, spicy and creamy. The palate is concentrated, sweet and rich with beautiful definition and great concentration. Textured, lively and rich. 94/100

From a tasting in January 2006:

Mitolo Jester Sangiovese Rosť 2005 McLaren Vale
This is a clone of Sangiovese that isnít suited to red wine: itís an old Italian clone that crops heavily. This spent 3 days on skins and only the free run juice was used. Very deep colour. Bright, full fruity palate is quite bold and intense with crunchy joyful red fruits. A delicious bold style of rosť. Very good+ 88/100

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2004 McLaren Vale
A fun wine with a hint of seriousness. Fresh, full, sweet spicy nose with a bit of chocolatey richness. The palate shows rich, concentrated spicy fruit thatís very accessible. Quite smooth, sweet style. Very good+ 89/100

Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 McLaren Vale
30% of this is made with an amarone technique. Ben Glaetzer uses this to fill out the mid-palate of Cabernet, which can be problematic in South Australia. However, he says that this doesnít work in the Barossa. Smooth supple berry and blackcurrant fruit nose with lovely freshness. Nice fresh pure fruit on the palate, which is sweet, smooth and supple. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100

Mitolo GAM Shiraz 2004 McLaren Vale
Thereís one vineyard with three different soil types, and it is micromanaged to produce this wine, the Sativar and the Serpico. This one comes from yields of up to 3 tons/acre and is aged in 70% new oak. It has beautifully defined pure, sweet spicy red fruits on the nose. The palate is spicy and fresh with lovely definition and concentration. A lovely wine: full but balanced. Very good/excellent 92/100

Mitolo Savitar Shiraz 2004 McLaren Vale
From yields of 1 ton/acre, aged in all new oak, of which 80% is French. Taut, deep spicy nose leads to a palate that is bold and full with lots of dense sweet fruit. Great concentration: firm and spicy. Lovely freshness. Definite potential for further improvement. Very good/excellent 94/100

Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 McLaren Vale
Made using the amarone technique, with grapes being dried for 8 weeks on racks before fermentation. 100% new oak and post-ferment maceration employed. Beautifully perfumed, sweet nose with some exquisite herb and tea notes. Open and smooth. The palate is concentrated, open and lovely with smoothness and nice weight. Full and spicy with some blackcurrant character. Very good/excellent 94/100

Mitolo Riever 2004 Barossa
Spicy, chocolatey, rich nose. Nice freshness to the fruit. The palate is concentrated and sweetly fruited but with nice spicy structure and a fair bit of freshness. Very good/excellent 91/100  

From a tasting in January 2004:

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2002 McLaren Vale
From younger sections of the vineyard, this up-front wine is matured in older oak barrels and bottled with a screwcap. It has a ripe, supersweet liquoricey, aromatic nose with lots of ripe fruit. The palate is sweet, rich, ripe and showy. Very expressive and utterly delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100

Mitolo Reiver Shiraz 2002 Barossa
This is made from 60 year old vines grown on higher-altitude sites of the north end of the valley. Itís a vivid purple/black colour. The sweet forward nose has a subtle spicy edge and is very appealing. The concentrated palate shows vivid fruit with a spicy tannic structure. Brilliant stuff: delicious with some nice structure. Very good/excellent 93/100

Mitolo 'GAM' Shiraz 2002 McLaren Vale
Very deep coloured, this has an intense, spicy nose with ripe fruit and hints of roast coffee and tar. Well defined. The palate shows a huge concentration of super-rich fruit with spicy tannins. It's a bold, complex wine with many layers of flavour. Very impressive. Excellent 96/100

Mitolo Savitar Shiraz 2002 McLaren Vale
Very deep colour. Intense spicy, tarry nose with intoxicating ripe black fruits. Bold and intense. Wonderful concentration of taut, intense spicy fruit on the palate with good acidity. Striking bold style with lovely structure to the intense fruit. Really impressive. Excellent 95/100

Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Amarone 2003 Barossa Valley
Named after the famed New York police officer. I think they are going to get into trouble if the Italians see the name Ďamaroneí on the label. After harvesting the fruit is air dried for 5Ė7 weeks before fermentation on skins for three weeks. Very ripe, intense nose is smooth with sweet dark fruits. The palate is lush, rich and spicy with masses of open, ripe fruit. Bold and more-ish in an OTT style. Very good/excellent 92/100

See also:

A seminar on Chinese tea, with Edward Eisler

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