Born in Yorkshire, raised in Shropshire, travelled the world. Lived in Adelaide and currently in UK. Love travel, ancient history, horses, cello playing, the unusual and obscure, and pottering in my own back yard. Visit my website www.wadders.co.uk
Published December 3rd 2013
Wine with a humerous twist
When overseas friends come to visit, it's always a good excuse to visit the McLaren Vale, although with its gentle undulating landscape and numerous wineries who needs an excuse?
Having tasted Mitolo Wine varieties in the UK, our friends wanted to see the vineyard, so we trundled down the gravel on Branson Road to visit this little gem. Citrus trees greeted us at the entrance, with the central, three-pronged courtyard complete with potted plants. The building is sleek and modern, with plenty of light and there are magnificent views of the surrounding vineyards and hills out the back.
The little complex also houses other businesses. When we visited, the restaurant was closed, but there may be plans in the future for it to reopen. Located in the same room as Mitolo, is the Producers of McLaren Vale. This offers a number of wine and gourmet themed workshops, and it has been listed in the Sydney Morning Herald as one of 'Top 5 Cooking Schools in Australia'.
We were greeted with a huge smile from the cellar door manager Jessi, who quickly had us seated at the bar. Jessi is great fun and really knows her stuff, steering us through the wines and explaining the Amarone method used in the production of the 'Mitolo Jester Cabernet'. This traditional Italian method involves drying grapes over a period of time in cool dry rooms until the fruit becomes partially shrivelled, thus enhancing the flavour, complexity and texture of the wine.
The 'Mitolo Jester' range, described as 'Vibrant varietally expressive wines that offer approachable quality at an affordable price' not only tastes good, but is reasonably priced. Each bottle is named after notable court jesters.
"They're sort of like medieval celebrities," joked Jessi as we read about the different characters.
Take for instance the 'Mitolo Jester Vermentino' – a wine described as a crisp, fresh, balanced acidity, seamlessly dry white wine. The jester on this bottle is 'Madame d'Or,' who served as a fool in the 1400s for the French court of Philip the Good of Burgundy. Apparently in medieval days, buffoonery was one of few professions open to women. However, this golden haired dwarf dispelled this belief as she was often described as pugnacious and outspoken and apparently possessed an exquisite voice and a devotion to music and dance.
Gracing the label on the back of the 'Mitolo Sangiovese Rosé' - a wine described as elegant and balanced, lean acidity, soft texture and long dry balanced finish is Giacomo. Known as the King of all Jesters, this quick witted and skilled performer delighted audiences with his magical acts, juggling, storytelling, music and sorcery. Unfortunately he was rather promiscuous, and in 1575 he was banished due to scandalous behaviour involving a Duke's daughter.
The 'Mitolo Jester Shiraz', a wine described as intense, textured and shows pure fruit flavours is named after Richard Tarlton, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Tarlton was the first to achieve national celebrity as a comedian and enjoyed a successful career in theatre as a leading member of the Queen's Players. He also wrote popular ballads and plays.
Described as bright, lush and juicy, mouth-filling richness, the 'Mitolo Jester Cabernet' is made from the Amarone method. It's 'Jester' is Monarcho, apparently the most eccentric of all Jesters Queen Elizabeth I's court. He was the only fool named by Shakespeare in any of his works, and featured in 'Love's Labour's Lost'. Monarcho was born in Italia, was usually dressed in blue and was more intelligent and politically aware than his court persona.
Mitolo Wines provides helpful notes with advice on what to eat with the wine, and also offers details of the region, variety, harvest and bottling date, colour, nose and pallet.