2022 Koerner ‘Le Korse’ Red Wine Clare Valley

A midweight, digestibly bright and savoury Mediterranean-style red, this shows the Koerner artistry of making subtly nuanced blending components then merging them seamlessly.

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Korse means Corsica, and this is a tribute to the wines of the island, or rather the Koerner’s take on them, employing two of the island’s key varieties: sangiovese (there called nieuluccio, though not all believe they are identical) and sciacarello.

Tasting note

This is beautifully midweight, savoury expression, with a taut play of tart red and dark cherries, subtle florals and subtle dark spice, with a subtle touch of star anise and brown cardamom, lavender and violets. Aged in steel, and with no whole bunch, but some whole berries, the purity of expression and the smart picking dates stand out here, with a briskness and vigour paired with engaging flavour, totally skipping the common sweet spot of many reds of the region, and surrounds.

Themes of this wine


Sangiovese is Italy’s most important grape, by both volume and reputation, and it has travelled the world, establishing serious outposts across the New World. In Australia, sangiovese didn’t really start making inroads until the late 1980s, but with improved genetic material, it is now making quite an impression. The key flavour component mentioned when people talk about sangiovese is cherry, generally red, but sometimes black, with that primary profile generally accented with savoury notes of dried berries, hardy herbs, dried earth, leather and cedary notes.


The great grape of the Southern Rhône, grenache, has also found many homes around the world, from Spain, to Italy, to California, while Australia is home to the world’s oldest productive grenache vines, planted in 1948. Today, a renaissance is seeing the grape championed, with makers in McLaren Vale arguably turning out the most compelling examples.


Sciacarello is a Corsican red variety that is closely related to the Tuscan variety mammolo, if not identical to, with both characterised by freshness and floral aromatics (mammolo means violet).


Hailing from Spain, carignan may yet find a more significant home in Australia, with retaining acidity very well and thriving in hot and dry conditions – a combination that we don’t lack for. Carignan can be a decidedly rugged grape, with dark fruit and spices often allied with gruff and very assertive tannins. The wines can also have wild herbal almost animal notes, but carignan is mostly used in blends, so this adds complexity to the best wines.


Malbec is a French grape that has become much more synonymous with Argentina, where it dominates the country’s vineyards. In Australia, malbec is typically blended as a minor component, but with better vine material and new thinking, malbec’s personality is emerging from the shadows. With a generally dark fruit profile of plums, dark cherries and blackberries, malbec can range from the deeply fruited and ruggedly tannic to more supple and silky expressions.

Clare Valley

A couple of hours north of Adelaide, the Clare Valley is home to some of Australia’s most famous riesling vineyards, with the grape accounting for almost 40 per cent of the plantings, with shiraz a close second, though cabernet sauvignon is also made to good acclaim. The soils vary across the five subregions, from terra rossa over limestone, to grey loams over slate, to fertile alluvial soils in the north. With a continental climate, the warm conditions benefit from the cool nights, retaining acidity in the grapes while the ample sunlight pushes the fruit to ripeness during the day.

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