Mitolo Serpico McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2019  £45.68

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Mitolo Serpico McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

McLaren Vale-based Mitolo is a family-owned winery established in 1999 by Frank Mitolo, whose Italian roots inspired his early interest in, and enthusiasm for, good food and great wine. Winemaker Ben Glaetzer became a partner in the business in 2001. The fusion of Frank’s knowledge of the land and business acumen with Ben’s winemaking talent has resulted in Mitolo becoming one of Australia’s most awarded wineries. In early 2022, Mitolo welcomed Luke Mallaby as Head Winemaker.  Having learned his craft at renowned Yarra Valley wineries Yering Station and Oakridge, Luke spent eight years honing his skills with Treasury Wine Estates. Ben’s new role as consultant enables him to support Frank, Luke and the team and help ensure the continued success of the highly acclaimed Mitolo wines.

Overlooking the coast, the Lopresti vineyards in McLaren Vale from where the majority of Mitolo’s fruit is sourced, have heavy grey loam over sandstone soil with black cracking Biscay clay. The proximity to the ocean ensures cool afternoon breezes that help retain good acidity levels and aid in the development of complex flavours in the grapes.

Fruit for the Serpico wine comes from the Lopresti vineyard, located in close proximity to the Gulf of Saint Vincent in the Whites Valley area of McLaren Vale between Willunga and Aldinga. The Cabernet Sauvignon in this vineyard is planted on black and grey Biscay clays which sit over alluvial Ngaltinga formation. Sea breezes mediate day time head while the cracking clays reduce vigour during the critical ripening period, both of which help to produce wines of concentrated varietal character and depth.

2019 was characterised by low levels of rainfall during the growing season, which, combined with a hot summer, led to an early and condensed vintage. Yields were below average, a result of the dry conditions and an intense November hail storm event. The moderating influence of Gulf St Vincent, reliable spring rainfall, and supplementary summer drip irrigation allowed for an overall successful management of the challenges of the season. Fruit quality was tremendous with small berries full of concentrated flavour.

Following the traditional 'appassimento' technique, the 2019 fruit was handpicked at 13.5° Baume and placed onto 10kg drying crates. The grapes were transferred to s temperature and humidity-controlled storage shed to dry for 37 days. This resulted in a 30% loss in bunch weight, concentrating colours, aromas and flavours. After drying, the fruit was destemmed and crushed into two-tonne open-top fermenters and pumped over twice daily for 10 days. After ferment, the wine was pressed off and transferred to 100% new French oak barrels, where it underwent natural malolactic fermentation and 14 months of maturation. Each barrel was carefully accessed for inclusion in the final blend.

Deep ruby in colour, this Cabernet Sauvignon carries an enticing bouquet of fig, cassis, cinnamon, star anise and dried violets on the nose. The palate is dense and mouth-coating, dominated by flavours of ripe black fruits, molasses and liquorice. Some subtle herbal spices that contribute to the wine’s complexity. The tannins are ripe and soft, and there is a bright acidity that helps to balance the powerful flavours.

94 Points Wine Companion

Sourced from the proprietary Lopresti vineyard, known as the 'Chinese Block'. Near Wilunga, this is a warmer zone. Hand-picked and placed in drying crates to undergo appassimento; this elevates tannins while concentrating fruit in a shift of the phenolic makeup, imparting a firm, ferrous savouriness. Unabashedly big, yet far from jammy, as a welcome result. Asian spice, blood stone, bitter amaro and cherry pith, with a verdant echo of cabernet in the background.

Ned Goodwin MW

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