In my last review of this label, I wrote, "We love Aussie Shiraz and we drink a lot of it. This one is classic example of how it at times is over-hyped. Its a big complex, fruity wine with long lingering tannins, but in my opinion, it lacks the breadth, depth, concentration and complexity implied by its stupendous reviews.'
"The 2003 Mitolo G.A.M. is named for the initials of producer Frank Mitolo's three children: Gemma, Alexander and Marco, a notable tribute indeed. The family owned winery of Frank and Simone Mitolo was joined in partnership by Winemaker Ben Glaetzer in 2001. Fruit for this label is sourced from the single Chinese Block vineyard in the Willunga District at the southern end of McLaren Vale, an hour south of Adelaide. The 2003 growing season had almost perfect ripening conditions from veraison through to harvest that yielded limited quantities of incredibly full flavoured and deep coloured fruit.'
The juice was aged in fine grained French oak (70% new plus 30% one and two year old French/American oak).
In July, 2012 I wrote, "This one is classic example of how Aussie Shiraz at times is over-hyped. Its a big complex, fruity wine with long lingering tannins, but in my opinion, it lacks the breadth, depth, concentration and complexity implied by its stupendous reviews (RP 96). The product is a dense ruby purple color, full bodied, complex flavors of blackberries, black currant, leather, hints of blueberry, cassis, licorice and a layer of spicy oak on a lingering gripping tannin finish, but more subdued than and not a big as the grand rating suggest, or than other labels of near vintages. I give it 91 points."
Robert Parker gave this wine a rating of 96-100 points and said, "This complex 2003 comes across as a hypothetical blend of a great La Mission-Haut-Brion from Bordeaux and a Rhone Valley Hermitage such as Chapoutier’s Pavillon. Everything is seamlessly integrated into this tour de force in winemaking"
K&L, a leading San Francisco Bay merchant from whom we've purchased many cases of wine over the years says of this wine - "Winemaker Mitolo delivers wines that express purity of varietal flavour, show elegance of structure with soft tannins 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. G.A.M. is opulent and robust, with a focus on finesse and multi-layered complexity. It exhibits typical Mitolo softness and richness."
Three years since my last review of this wine, I find it has diminished quite a bit, probably from age, indicating it has passed its prime and is reaching the end of its drinking window. The black and blue berry fruits are starting to fall off and come across as uber ripe and raisiny fig accented black cherry, whereas previously I found the wine to be polished, full bodied, fruit forward with gripping body and tannins. This time, upon opening it was obtuse and a bit over the top with tones of smoke, tar and cassis overtaking the ripe berry fruits. It was most approachable two evenings after opening and started to subside the third evening, giving way to gripping firm tongue puckering tannins. At no time have I found this wine to be polished and balanced and harmonious or as pleasantly fruit forward as the grand ratings suggest, or as with other highly rated labels of near vintages.
Before I this 91 points, at this stage I give it 88 points.