It’s February and that means planning something for my Valentine, and this year we’ll celebrate with Sparkling Shiraz from Australia. That was my resolution a month ago and I’m sticking with it.
Sparkling Shiraz may not be the most elegant and expensive fizzy – but it is certainly fun and interesting to drink. And I like to keep things fun and interesting with the wines I pick for different occasions. Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time to bring out a new sip experience, especially one that is deeply red, almost purple, from the wonderful foaming bubbles that rise in the glass to the rich dark berry flavors that will delight you as you toast the one who is most special to you.
Most folks aren’t familiar with this kind of wine – unless you’re an Aussie that is! But it’s a style that has become much more respected and refined, especially as Shiraz from Down Under has increased in popularity. This is not some syrupy, cloyingly sweet fizzy like “cold duck” or some of those 70’s wines many of us may have slurped in our younger days. Sparkling Shiraz is seriously good to drink. Here’s why: the ones we now have available to us are made in the traditional method, which means that they are made the same way as fine Champagne and other world class sparkling wines. If you want to read more about that process just click on this earlier post.
Let’s get to the taste – and the taste begins with the sight and smell of this wine when you pour it in a glass. So start with what we like about Shiraz and then think of this as a Shiraz that has been sprinkled with stardust. It’s densely purple color is classy and rich, to me it’s like an amethyst hanging on a pendant or set in a ring (not that I am suggesting what you give your Valentine!). Shiraz gives us inky dark wines so expect it to be almost opaque. Yet the magic is in those lively bubbles rising in the glass which add the special tingle of sparkling wine. I prefer to drink it from a tall Champagne flute especially to enjoy those bubbles. And inside that glass you’ll get the blackberry and peppery flavor of Shiraz. What a nice combination!
You can enjoy this wine all by itself as an aperitif but it really is a good food wine too:
- Sip it with cheese like aged gouda or manchego.
- It’s wine for tapas and tasty morsels like bacon wrapped dates, grilled octopus or stuffed mushrooms.
- And for entrees you can’t miss with most grilled red meats right off of the barbie Mate!
Serve Sparkling Shiraz well chilled like Champagne, but not ice cold. If it’s too cold you’ll miss out on some of those dark berry flavors.
I don’t think I can wait until Valentine’s Day so I’m off to pick up some Sparkling Shiraz right now!
Paringa Sparkling Shiraz $16
The Chook Sparkling Shiraz $18
Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz, The Red Brute $20
Molly Dooker Miss Molly Sparkling Shiraz $25
Black Bubbles by Shingleback $28