“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





03 June 2016


Coriole McLaren Vale Picpoul 2016 
($25; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap) 

A winsome white wine just bustin with beautiful perfume like this is a rarity. The thought of it coming from McLaren Vale is like snortworthy. It's a miracle. A blessing. It rarely happens. Things like this don't come without a great deal of planning, patience and money.

I could awkwardly anthropologise for it reminding me of what I reckon Marilyn Monroe would smell like in gingham if were interviewing her down on on Silver Sands but otherwise I should just say it's redolent. It giggles. All sorts of melons and pollens and starfruits; a faint dab of honey ... then all this floral perfume that shifts me to real old Guerlain fragrances... Jicky ... L'Heure Bleue.

I feel awful sometimes that I tend to automatically liken some wines I really like to old movie stars, but recent ones - movie stars - have been a bit thin on the ground around Casa Blanca, so please forgive. Have to up my act. Grow a beard to attract 'em.

Getting off the track. Take a sip and you're hungry. I mean you were already twitchy, but the first trickle of this dry sprint of a drink and it's up and off like a cheetah, which the internet advises me can reach 75 kph in two seconds. Those tannins are like the dust in its wake. Which is hardly a Marilyn Monroe sort of a thing. Unless we speak of her wit.

There's a vortex spiral of mean rapier acidity holding the whole sensation quivering together on your database.

As the time for glass # 2 pulls in, this drinker becomes aware that this can be regarded as a patio gaiety, but is bigger than that. It is a wonderful husky, sultry, high-strung thing.

Mark Lloyd introduced this variety into Australia many years ago. Here we have the first perfect result. What an achievement!

It makes me dribble for antipasto. Gardiniera. It could handle the vinegar in crisp pickled caulifower, and send it packing. Stack a couple away for spring and summer. I'll be very suprised if this doesn't sell out before your cheetah comes back, blood on its impatient teeth. 

Coriole proprietor Mark Lloyd with winemaker Alex Shirrah ... photo Philip White

Coriole McLaren Vale Nero 2015 
($25; 14% alcohol; screw cap)

Wow man. This one's sicko. Beetroot. Fresh. Borscht and yoghurt. It reminds me of Hahndorf Hill's Blaufrankisch, with all that overt red beet and raw Spanish onion. It's blithe and brilliant and like the Picpoul, it doesn't pause.

It's Nero d'Avola. It's bracy and racy and its form also reminds me of the first one Tash Mooney made from Caj Amadio's North Para vineyard under the Fox Gordon brand.

Deeper smells creep in. Pepper. Chives and stuff on top. Deep old black wood stove edges below: roast parsnip and smoked dark meats. So like the wine above, it sort of changes gear half-way through the first glass and jerks you into a different level of appreciation.

Patio wine. Pizza wine. Roast chicken wine. Entertaining wine.

Winemaker Alex Shirrah fermented these whole berries in 'small beeswax-lined vats'. Whatever he did worked magic.

If these are typical of what Mark Lloyd is calling Coriole's 'New Australian Collection' bring in those new Australians quick smart. Nero d'Avola speaks no English; writes no latin. But it rocks. Give 'em a go.

Both Ned Kelly (Rutherglen and Clare Valley/Polish Valley man) and Wolf Blass were New Australians once.

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