Sparkling Reds

Sparkling red wines have quite a following in Australia, but oddly, few other places. They’re a signature style of the warmer South Australian regions such as the Barossa and Clare Valleys, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale.

They’re mostly made from shiraz – sometimes with other varieties included – but can be made from just about anything: grenache, durif, cabernet, even chambourcin if you’re D’Arenberg (tasting)! In the Barossa, these wines help to make up for the lack of interesting white sparkling wines. Cool climate equals fine sparkling whites; warm to hot climate equals rich, ripe, dark-coloured sparkling reds.

Peter Lehmann Black Queen (tastings), Turkey Flat (tasting), Teusner (tastings), Charles Melton (tastings), Rockford (tastings), Primo Estate Joseph (tastings) and of course Seppelt (tastings) are all regular performers. Bleasdale (tastings) is consistently among the best value for money.

The searchability of the database has recently been improved, so now you can enter ‘sparkling’ and ‘shiraz’, and a long list of wines will come up. See also sparkling cabernet sauvignon, etc. There are some sparkling reds which don’t carry a varietal name, such as Joseph Sparkling Red, but if you search the maker’s name, you’ll find it.

My latest sparkling tasting had quite a few reds, and with winter coming on, many of you will enjoy these wines while standing around a smoky barbecue waiting for the steak and snags to cook – try spilling a bit on the hotplate, accidentally of course, and see how it adds to the flavour. Cheers!

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