Coriole Vineyards

Fiano Red Wine Sangiovese Shiraz White Wine Wine

Just over thirty years ago a little winery in South Australia’s McLaren Vale, decided to take the extraordinary step of planting out a large portion of their vineyards with traditional Italian varieties.

The family owned Coriole vineyards were founded in 1967 by Hugh and Molly Lloyd, on a site with vines that were planted just after World War I, and home to several original farmhouses that were built in 1860. The winery is probably best known for their block buster Shiraz.  Their premium “Lloyd” Shiraz has an “Excellent” Langtons’ Classification.  However in 1985 the Lloyd’s decided to plant out 35% of their vineyards to alternative Italian varieties, moving away from the traditional wine of McLaren Vale, Shiraz. Their aim was to create wines that were in such a great contrasting style to those big rich reds, wines that suit the dining table rather than wines that have been built to win awards. Coriole and the Lloyd’s were one of the first in Australia to plant Sangiovese, and the first to plant Fiano.

The move has proved to be an exceptionally clever one, the region is very similar in its climate to that of the traditional Italian climate, with the team producing wines of natural ripeness and acidity. The alternative Italian hero for Coriole has undoubtedly been their Sangiovese, a wine that has been in consistent production since 1987, making the latest release their 30th consecutive vintage.

Unlike many of the international Sangiovese wines, such as Chianti, which are often blended with other red varieties, the Coriole team are able to produce a 100 percent Sangiovese, creating a wine that is a great match to food. With its natural tannin structure and savoury style, the wine has become a quiet achiever on the Australian table, with its brick red colour, and crowd pleasing tastes.

Coriole have crafted a wine that is heartier than some of the other Sangiovese out there, but it is all the better for it. It will go equally well with pasta and pizza as it will with barbecued meats, the acidity of the wine means it will also work well with foods that carry natural fats or oils.

In 2001 the Lloyd’s added the white variety Fiano to their vineyards, releasing their first vintage in 2005. The Coriole team have got a stage now with this variety.  Their wine has become a solid expression of what Australian Fiano should taste like, it’s still one of the best examples in Australia. Its typically delicate but has a strong enough style and backbone to work with lighter seafood dishes, its floral and herbal, has a great acidity, which makes it a pleasure to drink year round in our climate.

Coriole’s Italian portfolio also include Sagrantino, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Nero d’avola and Prosecco, all of them are worth checking out.

Coriole Sangiovese 2015 – the 2016 is the current release, however it’s the ’15 that I’m seeing still on the bottleshop shelves, and what a ripper it is too. Bright crunchy red fruits, a touch of fennel seed and some light dried herbs. The tannins are ripe and firm, great depth to it, and has long savoury finish. This isn’t one of those tutti-frutti type sangios, there’s more than enough going on to allow this to stand up to a range of foods, and it doesn’t hurt that its superbly drinkable too.

Coriole Fiano 2016 – this smells fantastic in the glass, honeysuckle, pithy lemon, and a touch of what I can only describe as a bit of dry scrubland, that dry herby and rocky sort of aroma. Lemon and apple on the tongue, with that dry herby note in the background, a trace of flint in there too with the faintest note of raw almonds. The finish is dry, and ever so slightly salty, good acidity. The trick here is to not serve the wine too cold.

Coriole Shiraz 2014 – punches well above its $25 shelf price that will carry for the next ten years, but it is drinking superbly already. Blackberry and boysenberries, dark cherries and a touch of jamminess in there too, coffee and dark chocolate in the superbly long and velvety finish.

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