Tasting notes: Mitolo Wines sagrantino, grenache and rosé (SA) »

Alternative wines from McLaren Vale in South Australia

Contributed articles and stories
Subscribe to VisitVineyards.com
Mitolo 2016 Jester Grenache

Mitolo 2016 Jester Grenache [©Mitolo Wines]

Mitolo Jester Sangiovese Rosé from McLaren Vale
Mitolo Jester Sangiovese Rosé from McLaren Vale
Mitolo 2014 Ourea Sagrantino


Mitolo is one of McLaren Vale's most respected wineries, the result of a successful teaming up of Frank Mitolo and winemaker Ben Glaetzer in 2000. But, the story starts further back in the 1950s when when the family arrived from the Abruzzo region of Italy with their viticultural history and ethos.

The Mitolos stayed true to their origins where hard work, food, wine, family and friends, laughter and celebrations were an integral part of life and these things remain intrinsic to them today. Their early endeavours built a successful market gardening business.

In 1999 Frank Mitolo had a legendary five hour discussion with Ben Glaetzer about creating the ultimate expression of the region's rich soils. This dream was distilled into a six word business plan –  individuality, integrity, quality, purity, elegance and power – written on the back of a napkin, where so many successful dreams start!

The winery works closely with its growers, the Loprestis, also Italian immigrants who have an affinity with the land that produces fine fruit with a depth of flavour.

The wines consistently garner high scores from wine critics Robert Parker and James Halliday and are now exported to over 20 countries. In McLaren Vale, the stunning new cellar door and dining area are the ideal places to sit and taste the wines as you gaze across the rolling vineyards beyond.

Here are tasting notes for three of their wines along with some additional background information on each.


2014 Ourea Sagrantino

 Name: A tribute to Mitolo's grower, Don Lopresti, who saw the potential for growing sagrantino in McLaren Vale’s Mediterranean climate. Ourea translates to ‘God of the Mountains’, symbolising the Appennine Mountains that surround the vineyards of Montefalco, Italy where Sagrantino originates,  and the Willunga Ranges that surround the Lopresti Sagrantino vineyard in McLaren Vale.

Vineyard: the Lopresti vineyard shares many similarities with the area of Montefalco in Umbria. Both have clay soils, warm summers and an elongated ripening period. The soil here is deep black Biscay clay on ancient Gnaltinga formation clay which is so unforgivingly dry in summer that it cracks open, stressing the vines immensely leading to deep, full flavours. .

Vintage: this is the third vintage of sagrantino from six year old vines.

Style: the red wines of Umbria are rustic, earthy, gritty wines often made using sagrantino. This wine is reminiscent of these wines. It’s vibrant with lively acidity and violet characters unobscured through the use of older oak barrels. At the same time it is earthy and warming, with an almost rustic purity. And there is no missing the powerful, grippy tannins that are a signature of this variety. A perfect foil for a fatty sausage or cured meats.

Tasting: the wine is deep garnet in colour with a floral and aromatic nose, earthy undertones and a dusting of cinnamon spice. On the palate it is medium bodied with great structure, bright red fruit characteristics of black cherry and ripe blackberry prevail, with a long, savoury and grippy finish that is so signature of this variety.

Cellaring:  the tannin profile will ensure this wine will cellar well for up to 10 years.

Food match: Malfatti with wild mushroom and truffle sauce.

Alc/Vol: 14.5%

RRP: A$35.00 bottle


2016 Mitolo Jester Grenache

Name: Jesters of the Courts of Europe had one motivation, to entertain the household of a nobleman and his guests. Mitolo's Jester is modern day entertainer.  Ultimately, he is there to remind us not to take life too seriously. He gathers friends around regularly to eat and drink well, as he of course is the instigator of such frivolity.

Vineyard: the vineyard for this wine are at the southern end of McLaren Vale, close to the seaside town of Aldinga where the combination of cool sea breezes and gully winds provides ideal conditions for growing fruit of intensity and balance. The vines sit in heavy clay, which gives the wine powerful fruit flavours.

Vintage: ideal conditions in 2016 produced an exceptional grenache that speaks of its origin. Full flavoured, floral and aromatic with bright red fruit characteristics and a complete structure.

Tasting: the wine is bright crimson red in colour. It as a lifted, perfumed and aromatic nose with notes of raspberry and black cherry prevail, with a hint of cinnamon spice. The palate is medium bodied with delicate, bright red fruit characteristics. Soft, supple, with a complete structure and fine grained tannins that lead to a long, savoury finish.

Food match: slow cooked duck ragu with pappardelle.

Cellaring: 2-6 years.

Alc/Vol: 14.5%

RRP: A$25.00 bottle


2017 Mitolo Grenache Rosé

Vineyard:  the Lopresti vineyard for the rosé is at the southern end of McLaren Vale, about 5km east of the coastal town of Port Willunga. The soil is heavy grey loam mixed with black Biscay clay and sits above ancient Gnaltinga formation clay. These combination promotes strong growth in spring but in summer is dry and unforgiving, creating stress for the vines which leads to intense flavour.

The maritime climate  is dry, warm, sunny days in the growing season and a fresh sea breeze that cools the air overnight.

Style:  Mitolo's location at the southern end of McLaren Vale produces fruit with powerful, pure flavours and elegant structure. The grapes are picked on flavour ripeness, which gives mature tannins and vibrant fruit – key characteristics of all Mitolo wines.

Mitolo Grenache Rosé is a fresh, aromatic and bone dry style of rosé, an ideal match for the rustic foods of Mitolo's heritage and the perfect accompaniment to fresh seafood dishes.

Tasting: this wine is pale, salmon pink in colour and has a lifted and aromatic nose with notes of strawberry, white peach, and touches of spice. The palate is elegantly structured with fresh flavours of strawberry and cherry, enhanced by a hint of savoury tannin and fresh, crunchy acidity, leading to a long, clean finish.

Food match: a simple fish dish such as seared King George Whiting fillets caught fresh off the Port Willunga coast served with just cooked cherry tomatoes, olives and fresh herbs.

Cellaring: drinks best in its first two years.

Alc/Vol: 12.5%

RRP: A$28.00


  • McLaren Vale (SA)

Our Recommendations

To see our recommendations, ratings and reviews you must be a logged-in subscriber.

To subscribe please enter your email address in the "Subscribe Now - it's Free" box on the right and click the "Join" button, or fill in this form >

February 26th, 2018
Subscribe today - it's free
Subscribe Button

Subscribe now - for news and reviews, our newsletter (optional), to join our forums, and more.

Enter your email address and click the Subscribe button. We respect your privacy.

Log in

Enter your username...

Enter your password...

Log In Button

Forgotten your password?


Kerry's corner - your free benefits