JH 90 points, WA 90 points
Rainfall in late December and late January topped up soil moisture to retain canopy health. Mid-January the temperatures in McLaren Vale were in the 20 degree range most days and these mild conditions persisted into the start of March. Cool and dry conditions during berry ripening were conducive to excellent flavour, colour and phenolic development. Vintage started in the first week of February, slightly earlier than average, with much of the premium fruit off the vine with high natural acid due to the cool early summer and healthy canopies. The heatwave, which saw a record run of 15 days over 35 degrees, interrupted perfect vintage conditions in McLaren Vale, causing the most condensed harvest in the region’s history. Whilst there were challenges with the sudden ripening, overall 2008 will be a great year for quality.
Dark fruits with wisps of smoke and crushed leaves combine with notes of espresso and dark chocolate. The palate has intensity derived from the drying process, the tannin structure is seamless and shows almost infinite length.
Aged in 100% new barrels which are a blend of 80% French and 20% French coopered American oak for approximately 10 months.
Serpico is perfectly approachable as a young wine but will evolve many dimensions with careful cellaring for 8 to 12 years.
The Cabernet comes from the Chinese block in the Willunga district at the southern end of McLaren Vale. The grapes are grown on black Biscay clay and hand harvested at around 13 Baumé onto 10 kg drying racks. Yield is typically around 2 tonnes an acre (35 hl/ha).
Mitolo delivers wines that express purity of varietal flavour and show elegance of structure whilst being rich, powerful and complex. All the grapes are picked on flavour ripeness which contributes to the soft, ripe tannins and vibrant fruit which is a key characteristic of all Mitolo wines. Serpico, the flagship Mitolo Cabernet, is made using the Amarone technique of drying grapes before fermentation. This process concentrates flavour contributing mid palate plushness, complexity and mouth coating yet silky tannins.
Fruit is hand picked early (around 13° Baume) and placed onto 10kg drying racks. The grapes were left to dry for between five to seven weeks in the traditional Amarone manner resulting in 30% loss in bunch weight. After drying, the wine is fermented on skins for two weeks and then is left for a further three weeks before pressing. This extended time on skins actually helps to soften the wine as the small, aggressive tannins are bound up in the process leaving only larger, silky tannins in the wine. The wine is then stored in oak barrels for ten months before careful barrel selection precedes blending and bottling.
Food Pairing Notes
Gorgonzola Dolce, served with caramelised onion and balsamic relish on ciappe (Italian crackers).