What I Drank Last Night
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Coriole Lalla Rookh Fiano 2011

Fringe.

I was operating in pretty much uncharted territory earlier today when colleague Angela Lloyd opened a range of Australian alternative variety wines, grapes featured being Aglianico, Alicanté Bouschet, Blaufrankisch, Fiano, Lagrein, Mataro, Negro Amaro, Savarro, Tannat and Verduzzo.

Alternative variety wines have a growing following in Australia, so much so that there is even a dedicated wine competition for them (see here).  Based on Lloyd’s line-up, quality ranges from the average to the very good – wine of the day for me was the Lalla Rookh Fiano 2011 made by Coriole Vineyards from Adelaide Hills fruit. Fiano originates from the Campania wine region, east of Naples in Southern Italy and was apparently pioneered by Coriole in Australia. This example showed juicy white peach upfront matched by bright acidity, the finish long and saline. Score: 16/20.

Should local producers be adopting a more adventurous attitude towards what they plant?  Definitely. I remember fondly the Feiteiras Verdelho 2009. best niche white variety at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show in 2010 and a cracking good match with Lydia Nobrega’s calamari at the Chapmans Peak Hotel.

Comments

  1. 2011 a ‘difficult’ vintage in South East Australia…downright awful in some regions. Riverina an inland, warm,  and irrigated region supplied by the Murrumbidgee River. Big yields as a rule. The huge scandal here of course was the much celebrated planting and marketing of Albarino, only for everyone to find out that it was in fact Savagnin. 

  2. Sounds like a proper food wine, like its Italian namesakes. Interesting that Mataro/Mourvèdre is still considered an ‘alternative variety’. One would have thought it mainstream by now due to the popularity of GSM blends.

  3. Christian says:

    The Aglianico was the 2009 vintage under the Calabria label from Westend Estate in the Riverina region of New South Wales. It showed well enough – red fruit, really bright acidity and fine tannins. Not hugely complex but possessing a real point of difference, even so. The Mataro, Negro Amaro and Tannat were all under the Jacob’s Creek Limited Release label and while passable where all in a very “international” style.

  4. The Aussies seem to have a bit of a history with these varieties too, e.g. Tahbilk Marsanne which is a favourie of mine. 

    How did the Aglianico fare, Christian? Taurasi (“Barolo of the South”) is another favourite and Aglianico is another variety I would have thought to do well in the Cape, at altitude. (As would possibly Puglia’s Uva di Troia, without altitude).

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