Sparkling and red wine are not common associations for most. Beyond Lambrusco, these two genres rarely come together. Australia, however, has had a long passion for Sparkling Shiraz – one which has recently revived to a considerable degree. Most of these wines are consumed in Australia itself, but a few years ago exports made it into the B.C. market. These two wines are excellent examples of the high quality of sparkling reds coming from Aussie-land.
Charles Melton Sparkling Red 2005
Charles Melton (whose mentor was Peter Lehmann) is a well known Barossa producer, focusing mostly on Shiraz. The sparkling red, which is not listed on their website and may in fact not be produced anymore, was Charles Melton’s first wine and is made with old-vine dry farmed Shiraz. This is a wonderfully complex wine with excellent secondary development at this stage, six years after bottling. Full bodied but balanced and with considerable umami at this point in its life. A superb example of what Aussies can do with this style.
$80 at Taphouse Liquor
Majella Sparkling Shiraz 2006
Majella is one of my favourite value producers in Australia, with their Malleea being one of my favourite Bordeaux blends in Australia. The Shiraz is bottled on its lees for 48 months and, after disgorgement, a small amount of port is added, which fortifies and sweetens the wine. This sparkling Shiraz is an excellent example of the style at a good price, though it doesn’t reach into the upper echelon. Big and fruity, in an exuberant style, this yet has balance and clarity. It speaks in the Coonawara voice.
Very Good to Very Good+
$44 at 16th Street Liquor