a truly sparkling shiraz experience

March 14, 2011  |  wine review

A generation ago, sparkling red was considered a frivolous beverage to all but a handful of afficionados. On the one hand there were those who played with (and were often deflowered by) frivolous wines like Cold Duck, and on the other, some lucky souls sipped serious wines like the legendary Seppelts Sparkling Burgundys from 1963, 64, 72 and 82.

We’re not allowed to use that descriptor any more – which is a good thing as many red varieties are now nurtured under methode champenoise. You can buy Sparkling Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Durif, Pinot and I’m sure soon a Tempranillo or Nebbiolo!

Having been committed to stock one wall of the cellar with sparkling red for many years to achieve marital harmony, there is long family experience in this style. It is therefore with great delight that I can share a secret about a fine example of Sparkling Shiraz with my subscribers.

The wine is a Dorrien Estate Lockwood Smith non-vintage Cuvee Shiraz. Dorrien Estate, described by its marketers as the best kept secret in Australia, makes small volumes that are exclusively distributed by Cellarmasters (which is about to be bought by Woolworths). It might be hard to find, but at $17 it is worth pursuing to the end of the earth.

This wine has rich, ripe, dark brooding fruit in beautiful balance, it is a fine Shiraz in its own right with yet another level of excitement and palate stimulation provided by the fine bead that caresses the taste buds to the very end. Full of full flavoured cherries and plums with a lifted nose, this wine is an exceptional drinking experience. Under crown seal, at 14% alcohol and at $17, I have given this wine 95/100. Find some!!

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