Although wine grapes arrived in Australia with the first settlers, and have European roots, it’s hard to argue that the country has created its own wine styles.
Australia makes a mean Pinot Noir, Hearty Shiraz, Elegant Chardonnay and everything in between, but so do many other countries.
There’s one Australian wine style, though, with no equal. No wine-producing country on earth makes something as special and remotely unique as the country’s sparkling red wines. So, what is the Australian Sparkling Shiraz all about? You’re about to find out.
History In The Making
Australian sparkling red wines started in 1881 when a sparkling, or ‘Champagne’ producer, called Victorian Champagne Company, began experimenting with red grapes to make pink bubbly wines. Years later, the French winemaker Edmund Mazure experimented in the Adelaide foothills to perfect the style which would evolve to become the famous Sparkling Burgundy. It would gain fame not only in the Land Down Under, but the world.
The style had its ups and downs during the 19th and 20th centuries, sometimes hitting mainstream and others getting dangerously close to oblivion until the fun style was re-baptized as Sparkling Shiraz in the 90s. The fair dinkum Aussie wine has enjoyed popularity since then. Today there over sixty producers making the fruity and spicy bubbly wine.
How Is Sparkling Shiraz Made?
There are many ways of adding bubbles to wine. Still, the noblest of them all, and the one producers use to make the best Sparkling Shiraz, is the Méthode Champenoise or MC.
The wine starts as any other red Shiraz. Grapes are picked, pressed and fermented to dryness. What you get is a regular dry red wine, but there’s more. Producers bottle the wine, not without adding a pinch of sugar and a spoonful of winemaking yeast. The wine ferments again, but since the CO2 gas produced during fermentation, it’s absorbed in the wine and voilà: you’ve got yourself some bubbles.
How Does Sparkling Shiraz Taste?
Every winemaker has a unique approach with their Sparkling Shiraz, but they all share some similarities. It’s safe to say most Australian sparkling reds are bold, fruity, warm and spicy, palate-coating, enticingly sweet and heartwarming, and that’s just the beginning.
Regional differences exist. Examples from South Australia might be bolder than the ones coming from the Yarra Valley, and some over-the-top bottles from Rutherglen are nothing less than awe-inspiring. You must taste them all to find your favorites, and that’s exciting!
Experience Yarra Valley’s Sparkling Shiraz
Amongst all sparkling Shiraz, the one made in Yarra is a thing of beauty. A dozen winemakers are making extraordinary examples, including Fergusson, Killara Estate and even Chandon.
As a company specialized in private winery tours to Yarra Valley, and proudly one of the most experienced Melbourne private tours chauffeur companies, we’d love to take you to experience the country’s most distinctive wine style. Sparkling Shiraz is here to stay, and it’s only getting better, what do you say? Shall we?