E&E Black Pepper Sparkling Shiraz 2004

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IMG_3951Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most challenging meals to pair effectively with wine given the myriad flavours and textures on offer at a traditional banquet. Sweet and tart cranberry sauce, rich and savory gravy, juicy and slightly gamey turkey meat, vegetables, glazes, etc. etc. If anything, an effective wine pairing will have to also be an effective palate cleanser to allow each course to highlight its special nature.

With all of this in mind I decided to go with something bubbly, given that bubbles tend to cleanse the palate. However, traditional delicate champagne might clash with some of the robust flavours on the Thanksgiving table, so instead I decided to go for something equally robust: an Aussie sparkler.

E&E is a highly respected and excellent producer from the Barossa Valley who make their signature Black Pepper Shiraz in a bold but balanced style. This sparkling shiraz is made from the same fruit and is produced sur lie in the traditional Champagne method.

The nose on this was fruity and expressive with tons of black fruits and cassis. The palate was phenomenal in its fruitiness and its elegance with tons of black berries, cassis, and a bit of pepper all held together with considerable acidity. The residual sugar was reasonably high, but the equally high acidity and carbonation balanced the sugar very well. Further, that bit of sugar also helped the wine pair with many of the savory dishes, acting as a kind of supplementary cranberry sauce. With all of these robust but balanced flavours, coupled with the festive bubbles, the wine was the perfect Thanksgiving wine for me, and also one of the best pairings I’ve had in the past year. Overall, a highly recommended experiment for anyone looking for the right wine for that holiday meal. This is also a heck of a wine by itself, and probably the best sparkling shiraz I’ve had from Australia.

$70 at BCLDB


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