Mitolo Wines was founded in 1999 in Australia’s McLaren Vale by Frank Mitolo, whose Italian roots inspired an early interest in food and wine. The family started large horticultural enterprises before Frank Mitolo decided to start a winery. He hired winemaker Ben Glaetzer and the first wine was called G.A.M., named after Frank’s three children, Gemma, Alexander and Marco. Though the estate makes Cabernet Sauvignon as well as limited amounts of Vermentino and Rose, it is best known from its G.A.M. Shiraz. The Wine Advocate called the 2005 G.A.M. “a tour de force in winemaking” and rated it at 95 pts.
South Australia is the nation’s most important wine region. South Australia is to Australia what California is to the U.S. About half of Australia’s wine comes from South Australia and many of the country’s most acclaimed producers are there. Wineries based in South Australia include Penfolds Grange, Torbreck, Amon Ra, Henschke and Jacob’s Creek. The prestigious Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, and is often compared to Napa Valley because it is gorgeous topography covered in grape vines. First farmed by 19th century German-speakers who immigrated from what is now Poland, the Barossa Valley is the crown jewel of the region. South Australia has widely varying climates, from very hot, dry areas to cooler, high altitude areas. There are more than 150,000 acres of vineyards in South Australia, with more being planted each month. Shiraz is king, though the region also produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Chardonnay and Semillon.
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.