|Coriole Barbera. A goodun’|
Coriole Barbera 2010 (McLaren Vale, SA)
14%, Screwcap, $30
Barbera – one variety that we don’t see/talk about enough here in Australia.
At it’s best, Barbera makes for some deliciously gluggable reds (it’s the drinking wine of Piedmont after all), combining berry laden fruit joy and sprightly acidity to deliver drinking pleasure. It’s the sort of drinking pleasure that Merlot was always meant to deliver actually (but rarely did/does outside of Bordeaux). Of course bad Barbera is as just as forgettable as bad Merlot, but thankfully we generally only see the creamier parts of the Barbera crop here (if you get my drift).
Speaking of better Barbera, no question that this example from Coriole fits that bill. Mark Lloyd and the team at Coriole seem to have quite a knack with Italian varietals, as evidenced by the evolving quality of the Coriole Sangiovese and the recent gem discovery Fiano, both of which provide interest and varietal character at affordable prices.
What I most like about this wine though is that it’s looking better today than it was last night. That may seem like an odd thing to be applauding perhaps, but the notion that this wine is still looking sprightly after 24 hours suggests to me a wine of mettle, of depth, of substance. It’s kind of like a time trial stage in the TdF, one the stage they call, aptly, the ‘race of truth’ and the one day where you can’t hide behind your team mates/sit at the back of the peleton. It’s that one time where the real talent shines, as it’s ultimately just you, your bike and the road (plus several thousand crazed spectators and some unpredictable team cars/camera motorbikes).
Truth is a good line to pick up on with the wine too, as this is true both to it’s variety and true to it’s region, carrying red and black berries and some cranberry juiciness on the nose, tinged with some sweeter oak around the edges. The palate is a restrained one, a medium bodied wine with typically fine tannins and plenty of acidity backing up what is a generous, fruit-rich middle of black and red berries with a generosity that is Mclaren Vale through and through.
In classical Barbera terms this is an Alba not an Asti style with plenty of heart. Perhaps the only criticism with this wine is that it’s still a simple one for the dollars. It’s a very tasty drink but on the complexity scale the cheaper Sangiovese might have the edge. Still, that’s probably a minor quibble in the scheme of things. Good stuff. 17.6/91