Monday, July 23, 2012

2005 Mitolo "G.A.M." Shiraz

Here’s the next chapter in my Australian shiraz chronicles...

2005 Mitolo Shiraz "G.A.M." (Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale)
This Aussie shiraz is named after the children of the winemaker: Gemma, Alexander and Marco. If the goal was to create a worthy tribute to the Mitolo family, the winemaker succeeded wonderfully.  

It looks like textbook Aussies shiraz as I poured it into the decanter: a pitch purple color, almost black. I noticed a significant amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and some crust around the neck. For that reason alone, it’s worth decanting, but this wine definitely benefits from oxygen.

The aromas start off like a tight ball of dark and compact fruit. With some air, the black cherry and plum aromas start to come out, and it begins to smell like a fresh fruit tart dessert. There’s a bit of charcoal and just a hint of rich loam aromas as well.

The tannins add a texture of finely ground coffee to the palate. I’ll admit that the alcohol is evident, but it’s inoffensive. I recommend serving this wine at a little above cellar temperature (about 60 degrees) or giving it a good half hour in the fridge if it’s been stored in passive conditions, because the cooler temperature will help tame some of the alcohol. I’m a big fan of acid in my shiraz, but that’s not something you find often in Australia. There’s just enough acid in this wine to keep it from tasting too big and overwhelming, although I’d prefer some more. Flavors of black cherry, cola, licorice and hints of mocha abound. Hints of and creamy cherry fruit toast accent the finish.

I’m glad I’ve held off on opening this bottle and let it reach an interesting stage in its evolution. If anything, I’d say this wine could use another three to five years of age. I get mixed results with aged Aussie shiraz. I start off hoping that they’ll lose some of the baby fat fruit and calm down a bit, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes I find that the fruit simply fades and leaves you with flavors of prunes and stewed tomatoes. That’s not the case with this shiraz, which is made for the long-haul. I had a 2003 vintage of this same wine last year and absolutely loved the leather and meat aspects that it showed. The 2005 currently lacks some of those secondary characteristics, but I think they’ll come out in due time.

A lot of wines of this style can come across as overblown and boisterous. It sounds counterintuitive, but I’m frequently bored by such in-your-face wines. But the 2005 Mitolo "G.A.M." shows a level of purity and boldness that makes for a great drinking experience.

I rated it 91 points.

Lastly, some technical info from the winemaker: "The G.A.M. Shiraz comes from the Chinese Block vineyard which is located in the Willunga district at the southern end of McLaren Vale. The soils... are heavy grey loam soils over sandstone, intermixed with black Biscay clay..."

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