Coriole Shiraz: 25 vintages of an Australian classic

Those beautiful old shiraz vines of McLaren Vale.

Coriole Shiraz, I’m pretty sure, is a staple of many Australian wine cellars. I was lucky enough to taste through twenty five vintages at Coriole’s beautiful winery on a fine autumn day in April 2017. I first visited Coriole back in 1995, and have something of a history with their Shiraz. I can recall tasting all of these wines on release, so what a treat, what a trip down memory lane this was for me. Almost a tear in the eye as I went through the vintages, oldest to youngest, and recalled times past. It’s easy to become jaded with wine, and privilege, when your passion becomes your ‘work’. Not so here.

Notes will be posted individually at a later date.



Maturing but still lively Shiraz here. Red and black fruits, walnut, mint and liquorice perfume and sweet spices. Medium bodied, still holding sweet and savoury fruit, some beefiness, gentle wine, with resolved tannin, and fine length of flavour. Slight tang to the acidity in the close. Classic mature McLaren. At 27 years, it’s looking good.

92 2017 2020+

Blackberry and earthy, spice and a little leather. Medium to full bodied, chocolaty and rich, cool acidity, chocolaty tannin, and powerful walnut/earthy finish. Plenty of stuffing here, and the fruit looking robust. Terrific.

93 2017 2024+

Liquorice and chocolate, spices, black fruit – still dense smelling – but how does it taste? Medium to full bodied, beautifully balanced, ripe black and chocolate fruit laced with a little mint perfume, powdery tannin shapes up the finish, and a deep almost prune flavoured finish rolls on. Crikey.

95 2017 2030

Cedar and capsicum spice, slightly fungal, sweet raspberry fruit. Medium bodied, raspberry and spice, with a touch of green through it, though not untoward, as such. Lightness like a Pinot Noir! New leather and raspberry in  the finish with just a touch of astringency to the tannin on close. It’s still a nice wine showing a vintage character that’s appealing as point of difference, and holding up, but not one of the great ones.

90 2017 2018+

Beefy and a bit raisined, dark chocolate with a subtle violet perfume, liquorice too. Big over-ripe mouthful of fruit with orange juicy acidity, drag of gently chalky tannin. Could be the bottle, but this seems an awkward wine to me. It drags its knuckles on the ground.

87 2017 2020

Classic rich McLaren Vale offering liquorice, dark chocolate, a bit of violet and spice. Medium bodied, savoury and earthy, fleshy with plenty of tannin, a succulence of chocolaty flavour sustains it, then tobacco and new leather roll on the finish. A style I like. This looks great.

94 2017 2023+

Beefy and porty. Dried out tannin, and a porty finish. There’s another bottle here. Maybe we should open it?

84 2017 2017

It’s dark and brooding, has some truffle and beefy characters now, with two decades on it, but still looks like a pretty nice wine to me. Liquorice, earth, spice. Full bodied, powdery tannin, a little bit murky, and chompy, but like that dark chocolate and spice thing it’s doing. A little warmth on the finish. A good surprise. Like this a lot. Score keeps going up. 92 but could get to 93.

93 2017 2020+

Has some potent punch in perfume, ginger biscuits, dark fruit, liquorice, roast beef. Full bodied, lively, blood orange and dark chocolate, nice grip of tannin, pretty rugged, but kicking on very well. Has an energy that’s very appealing. Lively finish, though a bit drying. Perhaps a little wine-made, but excellent. Personal taste says 1997 over this, but perhaps this has the edge

93 2017 2028

Deep, earthy and dark chocolaty. Full bodied, liquorice packed, firm silty tannin, kind of rugged and macho, but I like it’s throaty appeal. A mid-range wine, but a very satisfying drink.

92 2017 2024

Truffle, spice and boot polish, almost a smokiness too. Medium bodied, a bit tangy and mulchy,  some red capsicum, squishy red fruits, soft tannin, and a sweetly decayed finish of pretty good length. Some blood orange in aftertaste. Doing well. Nice wine for me.

90 2017 2020

Bonox, mainly, also dark chocolate, very drying tannin. Rough, beefy and way too drying on the finish. Will it resolve? Maybe not. Too baked.

86 2017 2017

Almost a violet perfume, liquorice, dark mint chocolate, black fruit. Full bodied, smooth and cool, mint and dark chocolate, smooth tannin, graceful style, quite atypical I’d say. Red fruits and nuts on the finish. Kind of playing with rich and under at once. Good though.

93 2017 2025

Full on liquorice and rich hit of dark fruit. Full bodied, earthy and black fruited, orange juice acidity in a pleasant way, dark chocolate, spice and a throbbing finish. Won’t die wondering.

91 2017 2024

Classic Coriole. Some lift. Rich, earthy, boysenberry, blackberry, spice. Rich and full bodied, throaty and flavoursome, ferrous, plum and spice on the finish. Excellent. In full voice, but with time to go. Violetty.

92 2017 2024

A bit tarry, dark chocolate, black fruit. Some spritz? Tarry and drying, vice-like tannin, and a wrenched finish. Inky, but out of balance, I feel.

87 2020 2030

Liquorice, mint, beef, cassis, almost. Big wine, but cool kind of feel, with blackcurrant and craisins, silty tannin, slightly cooked and stale, but nice enough.

89 2017 2022

I recall I did not like this on release, but sometimes it’s the quiet ones you have to watch. Cocoa, mint, earth, new leather and black fruit. Full bodied, plenty of grunt and grip in the mouth, rugged, but earthy and interesting to an extent. It has depth, but it’s also seriously chunky and thick. Maybe it will turn the corner, like the 1997 did?

90+ 2020 2030

Perfumed, in a strange sort of way, beetroot, baked plum, lavender. Full bodied, rich chocolaty shiraz, gummy tannin, balanced acidity, and herb strewn finish of good length. Big thing. Good though.

92 2017 2026

Mocha, black fruit, spice, biscuitty oak, earth. Full bodied, dense and packed, ferrous and black fruited, impressive thick tannic impact, brooding but controlled. This wine still not ready, though it’s fun trying to scale its walls of tannin. Super. A lot of time needed.

95 2020 2040

Certainly a cool year, blackcurrant, mint chocolate, wet earthy/undergrowth, plenty of spice. Medium bodied, truffle and blackcurrant, freshness and savoury appeal, a lot of spice, and a slightly astringent tannin finishes it, but It’s looking interesting and pretty good, albeit atypical.

90 2016 2025

Tasting next to the 2013, both good vintages, but 2012 in McLaren Vale was perhaps something extra. Black fruit, perfume, raspberry too, ferrous character, and baking spices. Full bodied, thick with grainy tannin, this is brethren with 2010, so powerful, tannic and long. Pleasing iron and dried herb in the finish. Great Shiraz.

95 2020 2040

Meaty, black fruit, some nougat oak showing, blackberry and raspberry, spice. Full bodied, a lot of tannin, very earthy and inky, fine acidity, powerful archetype of Shiraz from this region. Something else. Splitting hairs with this, 2012, and 2010 for quality. All great.

94+ 2021 2041

Lavender and toilet perfume, blackberry and raspberry, nougat and almond. Medium bodied, a bit tangy and lacking focus, almond and some decent length. Pretty good. Not a patch on previous wine, though these wines can surprise.

90+ 2018 2025

Nutty oak and perfume, nougat, blackberry and boysenberry. Medium bodied, a bit tangy, more to the style of 2014, sticky tannin, fresh, fair length. Not bad. Give it a few years.

91 2020 2030

The patrician Mark Lloyd and his wines.

Rated : 95 Points
Tasted : Apr17
Closure : Screwcap
Visit winery website

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19 Responses to “Coriole Shiraz: 25 vintages of an Australian classic”

  1. zigtag says:

    Interesting! Nice GW.
    Lavender and toilet purfume? Im getting Trainspotting visions!

  2. asplenium says:

    Great reviews GW.
    Were they all Estate Shiraz? Lloyds?


  3. Brucer says:

    Its great to read that the 92 is still going strong. I loved this wine when it was released.After I drank my initial stash, I bought another doz from Langtons, but it was heat effected and every bottle was stuffed. Turned me off buying wine at auction.

  4. nick21 says:

    Hi KH,
    Not sure, were these wines the “standard” shiraz or the Lloyd Reserve?
    FWIW, I reckon the 91 Lloyd shiraz is one of the best SA shiraz of that decade. Consistently in the very high nineties for me, and the best shiraz from the 91 vintage. (the Wynns Centenary is the best wine of the vintage)
    The 91 Llyods has years to go, which makes me suspect that you were tasting this wine, not the standard.

  5. Gary Walsh says:

    All estate Shiraz. No Lloyds. I remember the 92 Lloyds as excellent too.

  6. tonyt says:

    Early to mid 90s, like the recent releases, are under some great winemaking. There’s a period in there which is very well known to be where winemaking and wine quality were sadly off point, and that period is almost perfectly demonstrated in the scores above. I would treat those wines as if from a different estate. Their is no means with which to use wines of that era to compare quality and cellar worthiness of the wines from other periods.

    It has been heart warming and truly fantastic to see these wines rightfully rise again.

  7. asplenium says:

    Hey GW
    What vintage did Stelvin kick in?
    Also would Mark have the same line up of Lloyds available to review?
    That would be interesting.


  8. coriole says:

    we will have the Lloyd vertical – 1989- current vintage, to try in 2019 as part of our 50th birthday celebrations. It will also be the 100th birthday of the vineyard..
    we might need to send you up another bottle of 1996!
    cheers Pete

  9. Simonty says:

    Just finishing off the last of a bottle of the 92 at the Coriole restaurant with friends. Spot on review Gary. Terrific aged Shiraz with plenty of life left in it. Classic MV Shiraz with perfect balance between fruit & oak. Awesome.

  10. asplenium says:

    Have you tasted that ‘96 yet Gary


  11. Gary Walsh says:

    No. Good reminder as have 16 Shz and Cab too. I’ll try fetch it to taste tomorrow.

  12. asplenium says:

    Brilliant GW


  13. Gary Walsh says:

    Just opened the ‘96 they sent. Made a mess of the cork. It snapped. Had to push the rest in and it hosed me with Shiraz. Anyway, still a lot of oyster shell and beef and the tannin is too drying. It’s a better bottle than the one reviewed but essentially the same deal.

    • dieter says:

      I bet they’ll make it better next time. Maybe send a screwcap version.
      Then again, maybe you just don’t like the ’96. They should just get on with it…

  14. asplenium says:

    The ‘92 we had last year in July at the restaurant was v good……



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