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I’m going to be honest here. This wine is strange.
I imagine sitting on a porch in late afternoon as the sun is reaching out far towards the horizon but still a couple hours from setting. It’s late in the warm months, so it’s comfortable enough to be outside like that, but still we want to sit in shade. There are some bugs in the air, but they bite only rarely, and most are just floating languidly about the grass-golden light of late day. The air smells a bit of earth, and herbs, and a lot of grass, which the property we are visiting is surrounded by–long, golden, late-season grass. There are at least three of us sitting together, and another is arriving shortly with grass-fed ground meat for us to grill into burgers.
That kind of moment–that is when you might want this wine–a spritz of bubbles to lighten things up a bit in the warm air; but the richness of red wine to match the lateness of the day and the grasses surrounding us; a slightly rustic but fruit driven body of flavors to suit the meat we’re anticipating.
The wine demands meat. A host of grilled burgers would well suit, or a plate of charcuterie. The label on the back suggests this sparkling shiraz would offer a nice apertif. I have to disagree. To be clear, I specifically list four friends in the grassland-and-rolling hills, late afternoon, pre-meat fantasy because while I was interested enough here to have a flute of the black bubbles, and maybe even two, I simply didn’t want more than that.
Shingleback’s Black Bubbles Sparkling Shiraz has a full body that the bubbles struggle through. The fruit flavors are concentrated dried versions of dark fruits–raisin, dark plum, blackberry, and hints of blueberry. There is a lot of yeast on the nose, and in the mouth giving a sense of real raisin bread. I imagine an apertif as a wine you want to relax with, and that pleases you, getting you ready to enjoy your food. This wine has a little too much density to just drink with ease.
Sparking shiraz is apparently readily available in Australia. Various materials I read suggest that people there like to drink it with bbq. If you’re not already used to this sort of thing, then I can only suggest that you try this if you’re looking for something a-typical, and slightly strange, or, if you like fruit-forward shiraz, and appreciate bubbles. It has a lot of the flavor of a still dark-fruited shiraz, but with a bit of fizz to it.
This wine is not my thing. It was a fun try for me, and I enjoyed it for a flute, as I said. I’d be happy to taste it on occasion as a kind of light-hearted snacking wine with friends that are eager to drink it. It’s not something I’m likely to buy again on my own.
To clarify: there is some very good sparkling shiraz out there. Sparkling shiraz in general is harder to find outside of Australia though, and only a few make it specifically to the United States.
There are also other sparkling reds that can be quite yummy, a dry Italian Lambrusco being a favorite.
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