On 4 August 2011 I was delighted to be invited along to the release of several new Coriole wines, a winery renowned (in my experience at least) for its interesting varietals – I am a fan of their fiano and they are well respected for their chenin blanc. This was an opportunity to taste the sangiovese, nebbiolo and the more traditional (for South Australia) shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
A great start – in a spacious function room at Adelaide Zoo, I was greeted by John Lamp with a smile and chilled glass of the 2011 McLaren Vale chenin blanc. It was crisp and fresh with a lively and generous nose of apple and a hint of lemon. Some sweet fruit on the palate is balanced by minerality and a pleasant dry and lingering finish.
Next I was greeted by the very friendly Harold Joseph who was giving samples of the outstanding food products – olive oil, kalamata and koroneiki olives, verjuice, aged sweet vinegar and red wine vinegar. Then back to the wine…
The new releases included the Chenin Blanc, Sangiovese, Estate Shiraz, The Dancing Fig and The Soloist Shiraz, the Scarce Earth wine produced by Coriole. There was also chance to taste the 2009 Reserves (to be released in May 2012); Mary Kathleen Cabernet Merlot, Vita Sangiovese and Lloyd Reserve Shiraz.
Several members of the Lloyd family were at the event, happy to share their passion for these exceptional wines. The earliest vineyards date from 1919 and the farmhouses at the winery’s cellar door date back further to 1860. Shiraz is the main variety planted on the estate, followed by sangiovese and chenin blanc. The wines are made from (predominantly) McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills fruit.
No lengthy description of the wines here – as a summary the reds fitted into a style that was refreshing and pleasing – dry, elegant, full of flavour, and made to age. The shiraz and cabernet sauvignon were typical of the McLaren Vale region with generous fruit and intensity of flavour. The Dancing Fig – a 50/50 blend of shiraz and mourvèdre – was aromatic with spice, herbs and red berry fruits. The palate had beautiful deep raspberry and plum and grippy tannins.
The wines previewed – Vita (meaning ‘life’) Reserve Sangiovese 2009, Mary Kathleen Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2009 and Lloyd Reserve Shiraz 2009 were clearly made to age, showing intense fruit and oak influence, with delightful varietal characters. These wines, the senior winemaker Simon White told me were wines made in a style he most loved to drink. They would age beautifully. There were some treats there for us to try too, to prove just how well Coriole’s red wines age – the 1989 Reserve Shiraz and the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured). The shiraz was their first Lloyd shiraz and in a blind tasting it would be hard to believe that this wine was over 20 years old. The wine was holding together, still generous with fruit and the tannins soft and acid in balance. It was drinking beautifully.
A little bit of background before the pics! Coriole’s winemaking is mostly traditional, with red wines mainly open fermented in stainless steel or wax lined concrete tanks, with hand plunging. The soils are mostly terra rosa over hard capped limestone – according to the Coriole website, this kind of soil tends “to produce deeply coloured red wines with good structure and backbone that show great capacity for ageing”. The full range of Coriole wines is extensive with many traditional French as well as Italian varieties – see their web page for the full list.
Many thanks to John Lamp and the Lloyd family for a most enjoyable event.