I still clearly remember the first time I actually enjoyed sparkling shiraz. It’s one of those moments etched into the crevices of my mind. I probably remember it so well not only because of the enjoyment I had but also because I was humbled. My approach to the subject of sparkling shiraz had been both arrogant and ignorant and I got pounded by the experience.
A few years ago now I was invited to a pizza and wine party. Of course my plan was to show off with an awesome red wine and to gloat about it like a good wine wanker does. So when a lovely lady turned up with a sparkling shiraz I giggled to myself… “lol, so what’s that, some fizzy red cordial I see”.
Sparkling red wine had gained a reputation in Australia as cheap, sweet and icky, but as I was to discover through my wine journeys, this was not always the case. Up until the 1970s sparkling shiraz was known as a beautifully crafted mostly dry-style bubbly wine. It was enjoyed so much it was copied and sweetened up for the trendy mass market who were sucking back gallons of overly sweet Rieslings.
Sparkling shiraz died in the arse until just a few years before I had my memorable introduction to the joys it can provide. It is now being made at its best once again! And the world is much better for it, a crazy little Aussie quirk indeed.
Here’s an interesting article by James Halliday about sparkling shiraz, a must read for the more enthusiastic wine lovers amongst you.
So, at the pizza party, the lovely lady with the bottle of red bubbles said to me “Are you sure you don’t want to try this, it’s the perfect pizza wine?”. My response “Ummm, that stuff can’t be any good now can it?”. She could tell my ears were pricked and said with a smile “You’ve never tried it now have you? Go on, you know you want to!”.
And with that I took a sniff, it smelt great with cherry and blackcurrant popping in my nose, and then I took a sip, while some pizza remained in my mouth, and BAMMM!
She was so right, and I was so humbled. Something about the wine just cut through the fat of the pizza and created an extremely interesting array of flavours in my mouth. That was it, I was hooked!
Late last year I came across a few bottles of 1972 Seppelt Show Reserve Sparkling Burgundy at auction and I just had to get me some! (It’s actually not Burgundy but shiraz. I touched on this wine labelling issue in my post “From failure to success!”.) Although the bubbles had mostly dropped away to a light fizz the two bottles I have had were both sensational. Still packing loads of berry fruits flavours! I can’t wait to have my last remaining bottle, but I’m holding out because once it’s gone I’m unlikely to ever find this wine again!
Serious wine buffs should read the story of the Seppelt Show Reserve Sparkling Shiraz by clicking here. It’s a fascinating story confirming the death of sparkling shiraz and it’s re-emergence in the late 90s.
It’s really starting to heat up here in Aus and a sparkling shiraz is the perfect way to enjoy a red wine when it is warm. So I bought a bottle of 2011 Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz to down along with a tasty pizza. Beautiful! As usual the bubbles cut through the fat in the pizza and that tiny bit of residual sugar combined with the array of raspberry, blackberry and blackcurrant flavours just combined so well with the savouryness of the pizza. Just make sure it’s slightly chilled but not cold!
And the pizza was a Domino’s Chef’s Best chicken and camembert (with rasher bacon). Like sparkling shiraz, you may have the same misgiven thoughts on this too! 🙂
So how can a wine tasting of delicious bubbly red berries go with a savoury and spicy pizza? Dunno! Life is a mystery, even if it’s a strange wine and food combo that has a wine wanker like me stumped.
Give it a go!