Coriole McLaren Vale Sangiovese 2006 $20 and Fiano 2007 $23
Coriole’s Mark Lloyd planted sangiovese in 1985, a decade or so after Carlo Corino in Mudgee, but well ahead of a wider move to Italian varieties in Australia. The Coriole style has evolved considerably over the years and shows great maturity in this 2006. It’s a terrific expression of the variety, capturing its exotic ripe-cherry aroma and taut, sinewy structure. This is a savoury, tasty world away from the Aussie, oaky, fruit bomb style. And after a visit to VinItaly, Verona, in 2001, Mark planted the white fiano variety, from Campagna. It manages to be savoury, tart, lush and dry – all in the same delicious mouthful.
Hewitson Barossa Valley Miss Harry 2006 $22
Like the Coriole Sangiovese reviewed above, but for different reasons, Dean Hewitson’s Miss Harry makes a great match for Christmas ham and Turkey. Where the Coriole wine focuses on savouriness and fine, drying tannins, Miss Harry is in the soft, Barossa mould. She has some of the lifted, ripe aromatics of grenache, tempered by earthy shiraz and spicy mourvedre – giving an overall earthiness to the aroma and generous flavour. But even at 14.5 per cent alcohol, she’s not hot or astringent as the fruit’s rich enough to handle it. Dean says he sourced the fruit from dry-grown old vines, some dating from the nineteenth century.
Lustau Manzanilla Papirusa Sherry 375ml $14.99
Manzanilla, the palest, most delicate of the flor fino sherry family, comes from the Spanish seaside town of Sanlucar de Barameda. The humid environment encourages an extra thickness in the film of yeast cells (flor) on the surface of the sherry maturing in barrels. While this layer contributes distinctive ‘sherry’ character, the extra thickness protects the wine from air and accounts for the dazzling freshness of good Manzanilla – like this one. There’s a slight salty tang, a subtle, pungent ‘sherry’ note and a bone-dry, delicate, mouth-watering finish. At just 15.5 per cent alcohol it’s a superb aperitif and great with Christmas seafood.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007