Thursday, May 01, 2008

2005 Mitolo G.A.M. Shiraz

Often when you drink a wine before it is ready there are so many good things going on you can appreciate it for "what it will become". But sometimes the wine is so very young that discerning greatness is difficult - tonight's Mitolo was like that.

The 2005 Mitolo G.A.M. Shiraz (McLaren Vale) was dark inky purple in the glass with a very nice bouquet of black earth and dark berries, leather (new car?), vanilla, mint, some almonds and violets. Gravelly/minerally on the palate with decent acidity, black fruit and spicy liquorice, but the heat of the massive alcohol level shows through. A sampling of notes: "Flavourful, but not smooth" and "backward, needs some time to sort itself out". Don't let that screwtop fool you - stick it away for at least five more years.
cork. 16% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: C$51 (BC Liquor)

A quick comment on the alcohol level - there is a sticker showing 16% on top of the Mitolo label - the original Mitolo label claims 14.5% alcohol. In Canada the authorities test these wines - was Mitolo trying to pull a fast one on consumers? I know that different testing methods can lead to variance, but this is a rather large one. Given the growing backlash against high alcohol wines, is there an incentive for winemakers to err on the low side?

6 comments:

Edward said...

Joe,

That's extraordinary (the 14.5 - 16%). As you say, it could be testing variation, but 10% error seems too large. Could it be there are several runs and batches?

Joe said...

I should have posted a picture of the bottle. You would think the maker would have conducted a number of tests, and hard to imagine batch to batch differences - this is a vintage, high end wine. Interesting to watch - I singled out Mitolo, but I have seen this higher sticker attached to a number of bottles, not just Aussie (south of France comes to mind...)

Wayne said...

Joe,
I cracked open a bottle of this wine recently and had a similar reaction to you; perhaps a bit more negative. The alcohol was overwhelming, to the point where I really could not taste anything else.

When my wife asked me if I liked it (she was not drinking) my response was that it tasted like a martini. I certainly believe 16% more readily than 14.5%.

Joe said...

Hi Wayne - quite noticeable, and not a great quality in a wine. My wife liked it...I doubt the government would change the label unless that 14.5% was just not right - definitely tastes like 16%

Edward said...

Joe,

Was reading the weekend papers (Max Allen, Weekend Australian) and in the wine column, there was mention of the current regulations regarding labeling of alcohol content.

The "current regulations allow a 1.5% tolerance between the alcohol content declared on a wine label and the actual volume of alcohol inside the bottle"

Interestingly, the Wine makers Federation is suggesting this be fixed, with the new tolerance level being 0.8% (still too generous I would say).

Joe said...

Hi Ed - thanks for picking up on that. I just opened an Italian merlot - new sticker says 14.5% alcohol, underneath the company label says 13% - seems like that 1.5% tolerance is a big incentive for makers to cheat - funny how the sticker never has a 1.5% LOWER number. This is starting to piss me off - I am going to have to dig some more.