Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sparkling Shiraz & Other Sparkling Reds

Last week was a bit of a busy wine-tasting week with meetings of my white wine subgroup of our local American Wine Society chapter and the Chateauneuf-du-Pape dinner at the Boston Wine Festival (see prior post).  In between those bookend events, I sandwiched in a tasting of Vietti Piemonte wines at Lower Falls Wine Company in Newton, MA.  Vietti is one of my favorite boralo & barbera producers so I thoroughly enjoyed tasting their wines and talking with owner Luca Currado.  Nothing like sipping some very fine wine and talking shop with an enthusiastic Italian winemaker!  This was my first time going to the Lower Falls Wine Company shop so after the tasting, I wandered around the aisles to see what else they offered.  Very interesting place with an emphasis on fine wines, especially French old labels.  But over in a corner on a bottom shelf underneath a window, I spied a bottle label that caught my eye...

"Sparkling Shiraz"

Pretty sure that I hadn't read that correctly, I picked it up and sure enough, it was a bottle of dark red sparkling shiraz.  I ever held the bottle up to the light that determine the color!

Huh.

Never heard of that before.  I'm kicking myself at the moment for not buying a bottle (don't even remember the producer), but I was in cheapskate mode at the time.  I started doing some internet research this weekend and discovered that sparkling shiraz is all the rage in Australia...and not much anywhere else.  Unlike white sparkling wines that are made from unripe grapes that are picked early, sparkling shiraz is made from fully ripe grapes and produced much like a regular still red wine.  Reviews I've read include tasting comments that sound like the reviewer had sampled a red wine:  "meaty, leather, chocolate, cherry.."  Most seem to be slightly sweetened to balance the tannins

I have to admit that I'm a little intrigued and wishing that I'd bought that bottle.  Apparently very little sparkling shiraz makes it out of Australian since the rest of the world has turned its collective wine snoot up against it.  There are only a few producers in California with Geyser Peak and Wattle Creek Winery being the best reviewed--not surprisingly, both have Australian born winemakers.

Perhaps a trip back to Lower Falls Wine Company is in order (after the current snowstorm ends).  But another option if I can't buy a bottle easily would be to make some myself and see what the Australians crave!  Hmmm...

Questions to my readers:
1)  Have you tried Sparkling Shiraz or any other sparkling red?  If so, what did you think?
2)  Should Aaronap Cellars investigate producing our version of a sparkling red wine?

Cheers,
Noel

1 comment:

Greg said...

Around here, especially during the holidays, the sparkling reds and sweet whites are prevalent at the local wine store tastings. It's interesting. Most I've tried have been a little sweet for me but I can see the appeal. Sparkling shiraz popularity is growing. You should try to make some. I'm considering experimenting with a sparkling Frontenac. I think I could sell it easily here.