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With the hot Aussie Summer on our doorstep and the festive season just around the corner, most of us will no doubt be enjoying a chilled glass of sparkling wine in the coming months to celebrate the warmer weather and holidays. So what exactly is sparkling wine? What types exist and what do I choose?
On the simplest level, the bubbles or effervescence found in sparkling wine is carbon dioxide gas. This can be introduced to wine in a few ways, such as during the bottling process or during the fermentation process. Sparkling wine is produced right around the world, with several regions having unique means of production, with varying emphasis on fruitiness, levels of effervescence and bottling methods.
Champagne is probably the most famous type of sparkling wine. It’s named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled – Champagne, located in north-east France, near Paris. Only wine that is bottled in, or around this French region is allowed under European Law to be called ‘Champagne’. ‘Blanc de Blanc’ or ‘Blanc de Noir’ Champagnes are made from 100% Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir grapes.
Although Champagne is widely synonymous with special occasions, Australian sparkling wines are rising quickly in popularity and fast becoming the celebratory drop of choice. Many are made in the ‘methode traditionelle’ style. Popping a bottle of sparkling wine is just as acceptable in everyday settings as special occasions – around the family dinner table, a picnic lunch or with a cheese platter after work with co-workers.
The fact is, Australians have been enjoying sparkling wines for many, many years dating as far back as the late 1800s. It was around this same time that Sparkling Red was first introduced and is still known today for its unparalleled wine style, iconic to Australia.
If you haven’t yet tried a Sparkling Shiraz, consider tasting Peter Lehmann Wines Black Queen. It’s a unique and indulgent sparkling wine that is made with premium quality Shiraz grapes sourced from low yielding vineyards in the Barossa, South Australia. Or the Morris Wines Sparkling Shiraz Durif –the addition of Durif elevates this Rutherglen favourite with extra richness and flavour. Whether it’s sharing a glass of chilled sparkling red or white wine with friends at a party or enjoying a long and lazy Sunday brunch, it’s a delicious drop that’s sure to delight the palate and tickle the taste buds.