Ever tried sparkling shiraz? If you plan on serving turkey, duck or ham for Christmas this year it’s time you picked up a bottle to pair with it.
“Sparkling red wine is one of the most unique sparkling styles in the world, originally a French invention but now championed by Australian winemakers,” explains Endeavour Group’s wine education specialist Christine Ricketts.
First released in 1881 by the Victorian Champagne Company, Australia now produces some of the best sparkling red wines in the world. Sparkling shiraz, in particular, is a unique style to Australia because of the grape’s oak maturation process.
“A sparkling Coonawarra Shiraz with rich, ripe fruit flavours enhances the juiciness of the turkey while the sweetness of the cranberry sauce complements the wine’s fruitiness,” says Ricketts. Her sparkling red of choice is Riddoch Sparkling Shiraz ($19.99).
Ralph Kyte-Powell at The Real Review is equally enamoured. He raves: “Sparkling red wines are made elsewhere, with a range of variations available across Europe, but are any of them like this velvety-rich Aussie confection?”
Courier Mail wine editor Des Houghton is yet another fan, declaring this week that “it wouldn’t be Christmas without the sparkling red”. His picks were Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz ($18) and Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz ($20).
Tyson Stelzer even included a sparkling red in his Top 12 Australian Wines of 2020 – Seppelt Show Sparkling Limited Release Shiraz 2008 ($100).
He noted: “Seppelt Show is the most legendary of Australian sparkling reds, uniting exacting terroir expression, grand maturity and breathtaking longevity like no other. The medium-bodied black cherry and black plum fruit of the fabled Seppelt Great Western Vineyard is bathed in signature, super fine black pepper, and subtly accented by the dark chocolate and game complexity of 14 months in large oak vats and a further seven years on lees in bottle.
“As it opens in the glass, its fruit lifts and its secondary complexity shrinks into the background. The inimitable tannin mesh of this site is something to behold, powder fine in texture and enticing, yet upholding a confidence that will sustain it in the cellar for half a century. A creamy bead and intimately harmonised dosage completes another masterfully crafted release. It is monumentally complex, yet at every moment exactingly medium-bodied and elegant, with line of undeterred focus and length that hovers in suspended animation for minutes.
“With a heritage of more than 120 years, this remains the pinnacle of Australian sparkling, and it will outlive all others.”