Best Way to Serve Sparkling Red Revealed….

Within this article, we will be asking the question; should Sparkling Shiraz be served chilled? We will also be discussing what a Sparkling Shiraz’s ideal temperature should be, what is the best Sparkling Shiraz, and Australian Sparkling Shiraz.  But to begin with, let’s have a look into the history of the Sparkling Shiraz, as well as what a typical Sparkling Shiraz tastes like.

Originally called the Sparkling Burgundy, of which the name had to be changed to Shiraz due to legal reasons, the first style of Sparkling Shiraz was created by a French expert, named Auguste D’Argent,in 1878 in which he specifically produced for the Smith’s Victorian Champagne Company 1. Roughly a decade later, another French winemaker decided to continue with the production of this wine style, in which it started to become more of a trend within Australia. During this time, Edmond Mazure embarked on making an iconic style of Sparkling Red, based on the famous Shiraz. The Sparkling Shiraz he created was extremely successful, in that it was full-bodied, high in alcohol content and had the signature deep, rich, and full colour.

Sparkling Shiraz was originally called the Sparkling Burgundy but the name had to be changed to Shiraz due to legal reasons.  the first style of Sparkling Shiraz was created by a French expert, named Auguste D’Argent, in 1878 in which he specifically produced for the Smith’s Victorian Champagne Company1. Roughly a decade later, another French winemaker decided to continue with the production of this wine style, luckily for us,  it started to become more of a trend within Australia.  During this time, Edmond Mazure embarked on making an iconic style of Sparkling Red, based on the famous Shiraz.  The Sparkling Shiraz he created was extremely successful, because it was full-bodied, high in alcohol content and had the signature deep, rich, and full colour

French sparkling red wines tend to be less sweet, lighter as they originate from Pinot Noir.  Whereas, sparkling shiraz from Australia is known for being heavier, bigger, and sweeter overall in taste.  With the wine originating in Australia, many regions in Australia now produce Sparkling Shiraz, all of which adapt the style with varied taste notes. Traditionally sparkling shiraz in Australia comes from South Australia,  you can also find varieties from the Great Western Region where it is typically intense, soft and spicy, and occasionally in Yarra Valley where it is usually a lighter wine with it being a cool climate area.  Of course, here at Verwood Estate Wines, we think our Sparkling Shiraz Rose’ out does them all… And no, we aren’t biase.

A Sparkling Shiraz has the classic taste of a still Shiraz consisting of dark fruits such as blackberries, blackcurrants, and cherries with hints of chocolate and strawberries, as well as notes of oak and firm acidity.  The difference being added carbonation or a sparkling fermentation technique that gives it its sparkling finish2. It can often have flavours of spice coming through too. They are usually a deep, purply-red colour, of which the colour glistens beautifully when the sun catches the glass.

So how is a Sparkling Shiraz made?

This type of wine goes through two processes of fermentation; the first is the usual process of making a Shiraz which entails around 12-14 days of the red wine grapes fermenting prior to being pressed3, and the second is an in-bottle fermentation.The reason for this is to create the carbonation.  As it is in-bottle, the carbon dioxide produced during the fermentation has no other choice than to remain in the bottle, hence the carbonation to the wine. Interestingly, this is also a popular method used when making Champagne.

Now for the important stuff;

Should Sparkling Shiraz be chilled?

Multiple sources do state that Sparkling Shiraz is best served chilled, though there is a certain way in which this should be achieved for the optimum flavour and drinking experience.

Yes, as it enhances the bubbly content and creates a beautiful crispness4. However, the Sparkling Shiraz should not be chilled for too long as this can detract from the flavours and spoil the tasting experience of the wine.  Experts recommend that it is best to chill a Sparkling Shiraz in the refrigerator for roughly 4 hours, but to ensure that prior to serving, it should be taken out for 10 minutes so that it can warm up ever-so-slightly. This is so that the flavours still have a chance to come through enough, whilst remaining a cool and refreshing beveragino.

 Sparkling Shiraz should also be chilled, is so that it helps curb the alcoholic tinge occasionally associated with a Shiraz with it being such a full-bodied wine.

The chilling of a Sparkling Shiraz can also be achieved by using an ice bucket; the bottle should be placed upright and kept in ice and water for roughly 30 minutes.   will allow the wine to reach an ideal temperature. Chilling the wine in a freezer is not advised as the bottle will most likely burst, leaving you with a large mess to clean up, not forgetting that it could be dangerous too! So,what is a Sparkling Shiraz’s ideal temperature? According to Signature Cellars (2020), a Sparkling Shiraz ideal temperature is between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius.  As previously mentioned, the Sparkling Shiraz should sit at room temperature after chilling in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before consumption as most refrigerators are at a temperature of 1 degree Celsius.  If it were to be consumed immediately after being chilled, then the flavours would most likely be outshone.

The question, should Sparkling Shiraz be served chilled, is frequently asked as many people are unsure as to what scenario this wine is ideal for. This is because a Shiraz is usually reserved for a cold, winter day with it best being served at room temperature, however this is a sparkling version which alters the wine experience all together.

It is commonly known that different types of wines are ‘ideal’ for certain temperatures and environments (wine lovers will be familiar with this), with a red wine typically set aside for a colder day, though what should you do when on a hot, summers day, you miss the taste of a good, full-bodied red? Therefore a Sparkling Shiraz is perfect for this occasion, when it is too hot to have a room temperature wine, yet a red would hit the spot.  This is akin to having the best of both worlds! The taste of a good red, but remaining refreshing and cool for a hot day.

Natalie, Verwoods Vigneron along with her husband Scott, have a very such memorable experience of drinking chilled Sparkling Shiraz Rose on one of those stinky hot days.  “If you recall, and it does seem a life time ago, 2019/2020 summer was a particularly hot summer.  It was the summer we evacuated 6 times and lost our grapes to smoke taint.   On one of the odd days when it wasn’t so hot we had to evacuate, but hot enough to enjoy Summer, we had a few friends around for a swim.  Sitting in that pool, polishing off a bottle of our chilled Sparkling Shiraz Rose’, with beautiful friends and great tunes, was one of the special memories of that disasterous summer.”

Why else should Sparkling Shiraz be chilled you ask? The answer has to do with pairing food with Sparkling Shiraz… Sparkling Shiraz makes an ideal wine to pair with lighter lunches during the hot, summer months, perfect for a salad sprinkled with a creamy  mild blue cheese.  Sparkling Shiraz is a versatile wine as it can also be paired with heartier meat dishes, in which it has become an Aussie tradition to have at Christmas with a roast turkey dinner.  For the Aussie’s who prefer to have a BBQ on the beach for Christmas, it is great with a host of meats due to its Shiraz back ground so don’t hesitate to crack open a bottle for these occasions!

What is the best Sparkling Shiraz? Well, look no further than Verwood Estate Wine’s Sparkling Shiraz Rosé! Our Verwood Estate 2019 Sparkling Shiraz Rosé is similar to the 2019 Shiraz Rosé in that it has a stunning strawberry colour, cherry and red berry aromas and a smooth fruity crisp finish, difference being in that it has an added sparkle! This wine is perfectly paired with desserts for all the sweet tooth’s out there; Smashed Berry Pavlova being a great option!  Check out our Ballgowns and Booze episodes where we cook up a storm and foods perfectly paired by our French Sommelier Teddy.

by Rebecca Sterry

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