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This has been a special year in the Coriole calendar. We are 50 years old and have celebrated in many ways and in many places. Now it's time for us to move from looking back into our past, and look forward.
What does the future hold? There is plenty of uncertainty in any agricultural pursuit at the moment and vines are no different. We are facing new environmental challenges - heat, water and frost are all considerations when it comes to viticulture and winemaking.
Are the principals of organic farming that we use - with no herbicides and artificial fertilisers - going to put us in a good place in regard to flavour as well as resilience? We are starting to get quite high organic carbon content in our soils. It feels really good – but will it add to our quality? Some broad acre farmers are starting to make large claims about their soils as they move to a regenerative system and move from old practises. We move away from artificial fertilisers to fermented biologically active products for our plants and soils. References to a local brewer is not about beer, but a brewer of microbes to be incorporated into pelleted and liquid fertilisers. What does the future hold?
The good news. Last month Peter and Duncan Lloyd and I did an assessment tasting of the shiraz from our 2019 vintage - about 25 wines in all. 2019 was a hot, difficult vintage. The first few wines got mediocre scores and I was getting tense. But fret not - the next 20 shirazes were magnificent, scoring from 17-18/20.
Just now, the future looks good!
- Mark Lloyd
2016 Lloyd Reserve Shiraz
This is a very exciting release, one of the most complete and composed wines ever from this vineyard. Yields were low in 2016, our production totalled 10 barrels (330 dozen). A very aromatic vintage showing mulberry, plum, rose perfume, sweet spice and soy. Plush and full entry continues with dense and unfurling layers of fine, long, persistent tannin. The palate is full bodied, elegant, with dark floral notes, berries and a subtle ferrous note. Awarded 98 points by Huon Hooke
Harvested from four vineyards in McLaren Vale, 30% barrel fermented in large French oak vats (70% stainless steel) the 2019 shows great aromatic intensity that fiano delivers with a beautifully textured palate. Aromas of white peach, pear, cut pineapple, jalapeno spice and citrus flower. A richly textured and spicy palate, showing stonefruit, honeydew melon and papaya, with fresh bright acidity.
"Deep red-purple colour, bright and young. The bouquet is very fresh and bright and loaded with fresh dark berry aromas, a tickle of star anise and a hint of dried herb and mixed spice. A lovely spectrum of aroma and flavour, the firm tannin spine perfectly balanced and running the length of the palate. Very long. Outstanding wine, a classic in the making. 96 points"
Huon Hooke, The Real Review
As part of Coriole's 50 year celebrations we invited the who’s who of the Australian wine media to Coriole for a full day of tasting.
We tasted wines stretching right back to Coriole’s first commercial release; the 1970 claret and finishing with 2019 wines still in barrel.
However my highlight of the day was lunch. Tom Tilbury and his team put together an amazing display of dishes to compliment a varied and eclectic range of wines, which took me months to decide on!
In some cases we were drinking the very last bottles of these wines, so much history in every bottle, but hey - you make it to drink it.
A few highlights: The 2005 Optimist Chenin Blanc I’d only ever heard talked about but had never actually tried. We only had two bottles left, the first was corked! Classic TCA and not drinkable. The second bottle was a phenomenal wine, so fresh, vibrant and really demonstrating the amazing capacity the variety has to age. Should you be lucky enough to have a bottle in your cellar, you’re in for a treat!
The 1973 Special Burgundy was in beautiful condition, pinotesque nose, lots of raspberry fruit and a little spice and undergrowth, a lovely wine. Could I go back in time I would serve in a burgundy glass.
1972 Shiraz Cabernet was great, medium bodied but richly textured and plenty of life.
The 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon was in stellar form, a real highlight and still with many years ahead of it.
1995 Lalla Rookh was a high impact grenache dominant wine (from what is now the Yangarra High Sands vineyard) really fragrant and some creamy American oak which was all the rage at the time.
All in all a fabulous lunch!
- Peter Lloyd
What the journalists had to say...
"With the planting of sangiovese, Coriole was doing more than anyone else to unlock the secrets of this often wayward variety. Shiraz and sangiovese remain the flag carriers for Coriole, but its plantings of prosecco, fiano, picpoul, negroamaro, nero d’Avola and barbera keep Coriole fans coming back for more."
James Halliday, The Australian
To mark their 50th anniversary, the Lloyds have put on a retrospective tasting that covers everything from the first wine the family released – a 1970 claret, poured from a half-bottle and still alive with mellow autumnal flavour – to vivid barrel samples from the 2019 just gone.
Max Allen, Australian Financial Review
"It’s the sangiovese that grabbed my attention at a recent retrospective tasting hosted by the Lloyd family. We sampled 10 wines spanning 1990 to 2018. The oldest tasted, 1990, was a remarkable wine: in tip-top condition and drinking at its peak, far from tiring at a giddy 29 years – notwithstanding the young, five-year-old vines. You’d go a long way to find a Tuscan sangiovese looking so good at that age."
Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Catherine Trott and Mark Lloyd
All of us at Coriole are very proud to report that at the recent McLaren Vale "Bushing Lunch", which is part of the McLaren Vale Wine Show, Mark Lloyd was awarded the Trott Family Trophy. Named for region icon Greg Trott, the Trott Family Trophy recognises significant contribution to McLaren Vale.
Mark was awarded the trophy in recognition of his continuous innovation in the wine industry, olives, olive oil, music, events, dining experiences and cellar door experiences. Congratulations, Mark - what a way to help celebrate Coriole's 50th year!
Coriole's Vineyard Manager, Mark Bates ("Virgil"), just completed a three day intensive viticulture tour of South Australian wine regions with vineyard managers from around the country and overseas. If they were not in vineyards or nurseries, the group had presentations and many discussions while in transit or at evening social events.
Highlights included discussing the conversion of vineyards incorporating organic treatments, highlighting soil health and carbon levels in soils, learning about developing technologies using drones for extracting vineyard imagery for management or controlling bird damage (instead of very expensive nets).
The delegation also discussed the difficulty of organic approaches in cool areas like Tasmania because of the added disease pressure and the huge rise in the cost of water licenses in the Riverland. Interestingly, frost fans in the Barossa are often now needed.
Virgil was particularly "impressed" by a manager from Chile. He reported a crop level of 60 tons per hectare. This equates to the cost of the fruit in the bottle at less than 1 cent! (As a comparison, average crop levels at Coriole are more like 3 tonne per acre.)
Poets and Pizza - Come indulge in a raucous evening of poetry, great company, wood fired pizza and wines by Coriole.
Opera in the Vines - Singers Catriona Barr, Desiree Frahn and Jeremy Tatchell along with talented arranger and pianist Michael Ierace are returning to the gardens of Coriole for a spectacular January long weekend concert.
Shakespeare in the Vines - Essential Theatre will take you on the thrilling and dark journey that is Macbeth. Guests are encouraged to BYO picnic to enjoy before or after the performance.
The annual Coriole Music Festival will be held again in 2020, on 16th and 17th May.
Congratulations to chef Tom Tilbury and the Gather at Coriole restaurant team, who were recently named the number one restaurant in South Australia by delicious magazine, in their annual delicious100 list.
"The chef’s menu and wine match has got to be one of the best value feed-me choices in the state. All this is generously served with casual country smarts in an easy-going dining space surrounded by lawns, flower beds and vast Fleurieu views. This is SA dining at its accessible best. Life’s good."
The restaurant is now open 7 days a week for lunch in summer (excluding Christmas Day). Bookings can be made here. We welcome large groups and functions - please email [email protected] with enquiries.