Tag: Coriole

Apr 04 2015

New Wave of Italian grape varieties capture Australian winemaker interest

Posted on April 04, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Climate change, weak export markets and increasingly worldly local consumers are all trends that have conspired over the past decade to create growing interest from Australian producers in alternative grape varieties.

Having achieved great success with the noble Italian varieties of sangiovese and nebbiolo, rustic Italian varieties from the southern Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily, for example, are beginning to win favour with smaller producers in particular.

In a recent series of articles on Italian varieties in Australia, Walter Speller of JancisRobinson.com reported that South Australia’s McLaren Vale has become the epicentre of enthusiasm for Italian varieties, noting that McLaren Vale plantings of nero d’avalo, the prized indigenous red grape of Sicily, are spreading like wildfire. (Italian Grape Varieties in Australia – Part 2 by Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com, 24 February 2015)

McLaren Vale’s Coriole, Beach Road, Brash Higgins, Fallen Women, and Hither & Yon are starting to win high praise for their expressions of nero d’avola. The Hither & Yon Nero d’Avola 2014, made from a hectare six year old vines planted by Richard and Malcolm Leask, won best Italian Red Wine Variety at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. The Wine Front’s Gary Walsh described it as “Bursting with ripe dark berries, raw almonds, fragrant and sweet dried herbs with a handful of black jelly beans tossed in for good measure.” (Wine Front, 12 November 2014)

White Italian varieties like the Campagna region’s  fiano and Sardinia’a vermentino are also popular in McLaren Vale. Oliver’s Taranga Fiano 2014 picked up Best White Wine and Best White Italian Variety at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. Oliver’s Tarango winemaker Corrina Rayment believes these varieties hold up particularly well in McLaren Vale’s often harsh summers.

Ballandean Estate FianoWine critic James Halliday noted that of the … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Australian Sangiovese: A Quiet Achiever!

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Over the weekend my husband and I enjoyed a bottle of Quartetto Sangiovese 2000. I use the word ‘enjoy’ with an element of surprise, because we had pretty low expectations for this 11 year old bottle from the Clare Valley. Although fairly light in colour, it still had an earthy fruit character, a bit of acidity, some tannins and the familiar savoury and restrained spice notes that are the hallmarks of Italian Chianti. It went really well with spaghetti bolognese on a cold winter’s night!

Quite a few Australian wineries make a sangiovese and a few, notably Coriole, Castagna, Pizzini and Chrismont, produce highly acclaimed wines from the cornerstone grape of Italian Chianti. But this noble grape of Tuscany is still very much of a niche variety  in Australia. In fact, James Halliday notes that plantings of the grape peaked in 2001 at 600 hectares, and have been on a slow decline ever since (510 hectares in 2008). (James Halliday, The Australian Wine Encyclopedia, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books 2009)

Sangiovese is a wonderfully food friendly wine, so the dearth of Australian sangiovese is probably not the result of a reluctance on the part of wine drinkers to embrace the style. Rather, experience has shown that sangiovese is not an easy grape to master in the vineyard. It is, in fact, a prime example of a grape that is particularly sensitive to the nuances of terroir. For the most part, only Australia’s boutique winemakers have the time and perseverance to stick with a grape that demands a lot of love and attention.

McLaren Vale based Coriole was the first winery to introduce the variety to Australia in 1985. (Coriole also makes a great chenin blanc – another variety that has had a spotted history outside of its home … Read the rest