2012 Coriole Estate Shiraz

imageA trip to McLaren Vale just over a week ago confirmed the quality of the 2012 vintage for reds. Density of flavour, mid-palate weight, no desiccated fruit. While the best of the 2011s produced a perfumed delicacy which allowed consumers to look at the region askew, I suspect these wines will have enormous appeal to those seeking a more traditional regional expression.

The fruit sits somewhere between red and black in hue. Violets and plums, vanilla and milk chocolate. Sensibly applied creamy, malty oak. The architecture enables clear and precise enunciation of the flavours on the palate. Might well be worth stashing a few bottles in the cellar. 93

Region: McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 14.0%
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $30
Tasted: May 2014


This entry was posted in McLaren Vale, Shiraz, Syrah and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 2012 Coriole Estate Shiraz

  1. Matt Broomhead says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    I saw this wine as part of the new 360 degrees Shiraz masterclass for McLaren Vale Meet Your Maker. Ben Riggs and I were on the panel talking about how Shiraz has evolved stylistically over time in the region and this wine was in our bracket of eight. We both picked it out for mention as we thought it was a good example of *wait for it* the “modern style”. I think for lack of a better term this really fits this wine. I talked a little about how Shiraz has evolved the 14 vintages I’ve seen in the Vale- from big oaky beasts to now dialling it back a touch, better vineyard management, applying oak with a softer hand, even a bit of wild fermentation if that’s your bag, etc etc….

    I’m very interested to get your thoughts on the matter. As a bit of a Vale geek I find this discussion fascinating…..


  2. Hey Matt – this is a matter that is of great interest to me. When I was in McLaren Vale I asked as many people as I could about the appropriateness of referring to thickly oaked, very ripe Shiraz as “traditional”. The consensus among those I spoke to was that of the late 90s as an anomaly of sorts. Robert Parker and the quest for a certain style was often spoken of as a factor behind the prevalence of such wines. Perhaps wines like this are “modern” in style or perhaps the hark back to an era before my time and before Parker. The truth is I need to speak to more people and (better yet) find a way to taste the McLaren Vale Shiraz wines of the 80s or earlier.

    But with regards to my use of the words “more traditional expression” in the above note, it was in comparison to the 2011 vintage – a once (or twice) in a lifetime set of conditions. If that isn’t clear in context then that is entirely my fault. I wouldn’t presume to know what a “traditional” McLaren Vale Shiraz is like in an absolute sense. Ben would surely know more than me on that matter. If 2011 is taken out of the equation then the word may be entirely unsuitable. Certainly this is no oaky monster. It’s the nature of the density of fruit rather than oak or ripeness that I intended to reference.


  3. Matt Broomhead says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    No- all good :) I took your use of the term “more traditional” as it was intended. Even though I’ve worked in the area for a while now I would have no idea what a “traditional” MV Shiraz is. I think its always a dynamic thing evolving (or even devolving sometimes) along the journey. It was interesting talking to Ben and Mark Lloyd of Coriole in preparation as they have seen a hell of a lot of MV Shiraz in their time. In a nut shell they saw the 80s as being that less alcohol greener sort of style- long living but tough drinking early on. The 90s went to an era of very little input- less adds, low SO2 etc leading to a little bit of *ahem* terroir in some wines. The 2000s as being about that Parker era- more oak, big alcohols (chasing the American dream- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style). And the 2010s about bring back some balance, a little less input again but smarter etc.

    I have in no way done what they have told me justice above, as I’m a pretty poor writer, but I just find the whole issue fascinating and pretty bloody relevant in the discussion of Shiraz in this country. And I also found this to be a pretty bloody appealing wine :)



  4. It’s a bloody good wine isn’t it? Even more so when you consider the price.

    No one does justice to anything in words or numbers (that’s life) but I appreciate the insight you’ve added. Mark Lloyd was one of those I didn’t get to ask – purely due to the amount of questions I already had lined up when we had lunch. Without trying to speak for him I suspect your account provides a hell of a lot of worthwhile context. Thank you for fleshing out the detail.

  5. Personally, I think there’s absolutely no question that Parker’s name gets used as a ridiculous and conveniently incorrect excuse. The big, artefact driven style was firmly entrenching itself in SA big reds (which the market loved, so that didn’t make them all wrong for the time) WELL BEFORE the Parker influence. It was prevalent by the early to mid 90s of the Shiraz boom upswing.

    On this wine; this is the best Coriole Shiraz in many years. The style hasn’t changed of late, especially since their location up on the rise of the Seaview ridge has always lent itself to not producing McLaren Vale floor plummy big numbers. But, and I say this with a heavy heart as a fan of Mark’s, I think there have been a handful of years where the style lacked shape and super definition, and the wines wallowed and always seemed to look poor alongside many of their peers. A big come down from the 90s and early 2000s when they were fantastic.

    2012 is not only a return to form and a recalibration. It is super good, and a better wine than some producer’s prestige priced flagship. Seek it out.

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