Most of us are conditioned to drink Champagne and other sparkling wines to highlight a celebration. The truth is that many sparklers work well with food. Additionally sparkling wine adds an element of fun that livens up any meal from breakfast through dinner. Australia tend to do things their own way. So it should be no surprise that many of the sparkling wines emanating from down under are Shiraz based. Among other things, they do Shiraz very well so this is a good thing. I just previewed a handful of Aussie sparklers and the two below were my favorites.
Leconfield 2004 Sparkling Shiraz - The nose give off a huge hit of crushed blackberry. The first sip reveals some spice notes. The mid palate has strong plum pudding flavors. This is accompanied by an undertone of brioche that hangs gently though the crisp, dry finish. Dark berry notes appear throughout and provide rich, mouth filling flavors. This wine is dry and works very well with food. I had it with roast pork loin and found it to be a splendid match. That said it sipped well on it's own. The production on the Leconfield was 750 cases. Well worth seeking out Leconfield Coonawarra Estate has been around since 1974. If this sparkling Shiraz is any indication of the quality they are putting out I'd suggest looking into their other releases as well.
Ultihorne "Flamma" Sparkling Shiraz - This ones opens with a heady aroma that just envelops your nose, making you want to dive into the glass it's so inviting. The first sip reveals mulled spice flavors and fruit that is a bit brighter than the Leconfield. The mid palate has a touch of white pepper that floats on the tongue. Raspberry, plum and spice notes emerge throughout. The finish most prominently features chocolate and biscuit notes. This wine is incredibly refreshing and each sips in an invitation to go back for more. This is also a great wine with food. I enjoyed it immensely with roasted potatoes and a rotisserie chicken. Flamma also works well on it's own as there's a lot going in this wine and it's all very enjoyable. Don't hesitate to drink it with dessert either, all that dark fruit should pair nicely with dark chocolate. Just 450 cases of this wine were produced. It's worth taking the time to find.
Both of these sparkling wines will make festive, elegant additions to your celebration on New Years Eve. But more than that these wines are proof that Sparklers should not be reserved only for special occasions. Drink them anytime.