Few winemakers in the country can lay claim to bottle ageing their premium wines for 10 years before first release, with Mitchell Wines’ McNicol label almost standing alone in this esteemed category. Mitchell recently chalked up 20 years of producing its premium McNicol in the Clare Valley from the region’s two classic varietals, Riesling ($45) and Shiraz ($50).
The grapes for the wine are handpicked, kept in a larger 3,000-litre French oak format and then bottle aged in a specially built warehouse on site. Only around 500 cases are made.
“For us at Mitchell Wines, the McNicol name is one of strength, resilience, respect and quality,” says winemaker Andrew Mitchell, who laid the first bottles down at the end of the 1990s.
“Our goal with McNicol wines is to showcase aged Clare Valley at its finest. With this in mind, McNicol Shiraz and Riesling are released with the ‘reserving’ already done for you.”
And the result? Absolutely astonishing! At the price point you will struggle to buy a better value aged riesling or shiraz straight off the shelf anywhere in Australia.
In fact, the 2008 Riesling (sold out) was awarded a double gold medal with 96 points and named Wine of the Year by country at the Sommeliers Choice Awards in San Francisco in June.
The current 2008 Shiraz release is a basket-pressed wine from a hot vintage, showing predominant dark fruits. Red berries, nightshade and acid are wound with elegant oak and tannin. A beguiling wine of power.
Still fresh as a daisy, the 2009 Riesling release reveals a complex blend of white fruits, spiced honey and crushed lime juice. Late picking has produced a richer style that still has a very long life ahead of it.
You can purchase online, and both of these wines are available for tasting at the cellar door – next time you are in the Clare Valley, drop in to say hi to the Mitchell family over a glass of the mighty McNicol.
Images by James Knowler and courtesy of McNicol