The Mitchell family property in the Clare Valley was purchased in 1949 by Peter McNicol Mitchell and was originally a dairy farm and orchard, and included a small vineyard. In 1975 Peter’s son Andrew took over management of the property and Mitchell Wines was established. Since then, Andrew and his wife Jane have grown the area under vine to 80 hectares, with a winery and bottling facility, and now Andrew and Jane’s children Angus, Edwina and Hilary are on board to drive Mitchell wines into the future.
Just over ten years ago the Mitchells converted their farming practices back to those that Peter McNicol Mitchell had originally implemented when he first established the vineyards. They continue to employ sustainable practices, resulting in rich soils for their dry-grown vineyards. This ensures responsible water conservation whilst the removal of all artificial herbicides and pesticides has encouraged biodiversity across the board. This has resulted in rich soils and vineyards full of life, and exciting wines full of energy.
Mitchell 2021 Pinot Gris RRP $25
This wine is beautifully fresh and floral, with gorgeous aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle, white peach, and pear, and a savoury mineral element. On the palate it’s fresh too, juicy with those flowers again and a little ripe lychee sweetness. It has texture from barrel ferment and lovely balanced acidity to finish off.
This gris could most definitely handle spicy dishes: stir-fried prawns with basil and chilli on a Thai beach would suit it and me down to the ground. 13% alcohol.
Mitchell 2021 Watervale Riesling RRP $25
There’s a veritable St Clement’s mix of oranges and lemons on the nose here – I could be walking through a citrus grove as the trees are blossoming: it is heady and perfumed, pretty & beguiling. The palate is a continuation of intense citrus, like a five-star hotel barman has squeezed the oil from a strip of orange zest over the rim of your cocktail glass… this is superb Watervale riesling: dry, textural, heady, delicious and with a savoury flinty finish. Drink right now, or revisit in five, ten, fifteen years.
This riesling could handle any number of dishes from fresh ‘n fishy to spicy Asian, but my pick would be dressed crab with a light wasabi mayo and a just-warmed milk bun. Perfect. 12.5% alcohol
Mitchell 2012 McNicol Riesling $45
This single vineyard cellar reserve riesling, from never-irrigated vines, shows how brilliant aged riesling can be, from its gorgeous medium gold appearance to its perfumed and exotic nose of lime oil, honey and marmalade and notes of toast and stones. It’s textural, with roundness and sweetness and a still-youthful tang of Seville oranges and sun-baked hay. The acidity is chalky and in great balance, and the wine has wonderful length, finishing with a touch of amaro-like citrus peel bitterness.
It’s a lovely wine and is great value for money. I’d drink it in a flash with a whole fried snapper with lime and chilli or even salt and pepper squid. Cheers to that! 12.3% alcohol.
Mitchell 2017 Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz RRP $30
A quintessential Clare shiraz from dry-grown vineyards, this wine has plenty of ripe black and blue-berried fruit aromas, with violets, black pepper and richer, savoury sarsaparilla notes. On the palate it’s ripe and juicy but still elegant in its Clare way, with black-berried fruits and milk chocolate notes. It’s soft, smooth and supple with firm tannins, and has time to go in the bottle still if you can bear to wait.
What more definitive combination is there than shiraz and lamb? A couple of cute little grilled cutlets on the BBQ with a splodge of salsa verde would be my match made in heaven. 12.3% alcohol.
Mitchell 2017 Sevenhill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon RRP $30
This Cabernet from the renowned Sevenhill vineyard is showing classic ripe cassis and leaf aromas with saddle leather and bramble notes. The palate is claret-like in its structure, with elegant fruit, that leafy savouriness, a fine acid line, and cedary but firm tannins.
This will last the distance with careful cellaring, and would duet magnificently with a wood-fired steak and Bordelaise sauce. 13% alcohol.
Mitchell 2009 McNicol Shiraz RRP $60
The brother to the McNicol cellar reserve riesling, this twelve-year-old wine was sourced from a section of mature, dry-grown and low yielding Clare Valley vineyards. It is bright and still youthful in the glass, with bottle-aged leather and mulled fruits of the forest aromas on the nose, mingling with baked beetroot-and-chocolate-muffin notes and savouriness from whole-bunch fermentation. The palate is multi-layered, with primary blue and red-berried fruits over tertiary earthiness, and leather, spice and soy sauce is there too. The wine has a lovely mouthfeel, with alcohol in balance and a finish of definitive tannins.
The wine is a steal for the price and could be cellared further, although drinking smashingly right now. There is so much going on in the glass that my money’s on it reaching new heights with a lamb rogan josh. 14% alcohol.