When the Mitolo family arrived in Australia in the 1950s they brought their viticulturist ancestry and an ethos belonging to the Abruzzo region – forte e gentile. The family worked hard to become successful market gardeners while staying true to their origins where food and wine, family and friends, laughter and celebration were an integral part of life. After years of working in his family’s potato business, Frank Mitolo started making wine for family and friends.
In 1999, after a now legendary 5-hour discussion with winemaker Ben Glaetzer, the pair fashioned a dream of making the ultimate expression of McLaren Vale’s rich provenance of soils. They jotted a six word business plan on the back of a napkin: individuality, integrity, quality, purity, elegance and power. The first Mitolo wine, the 2000 G.A.M. Shiraz was named after Frank’s children Gemma, Alex and Marco. Since then Mitolo have added another 10 wines to the range each with its own distinct personality and story.
The winery works closely with its growers, the Loprestis. The Loprestis, also Italian immigrants and old friends of the Mitolos, have an affinity with their land, producing fruit of the highest quality. The fruit is the essence of Mitolo, with a depth of flavour garnered from heavy clay soils, yet freshness thanks to the gentle afternoon sea breeze. In the winery, Ben takes a ‘hands-off’ approach, fermenting cool to retain purity, and using a range of barrel coopers to generate complexity yet respect and enhance the fruit.
The Mitolo Italian heritage runs strongly through the range using the Italian varietals and techniques. Business meetings are still held over Sunday lunch with traditional Italian food and of course Mitolo wine shared with friends, old and new. And at the heart of it all, in the wine style, in the people, is the motto that the Mitolo’s brought from Abruzzo – forte a gentile: strong and gentle.
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