Current Category Australian Sparkling Wines

The best Australian sparkling wines are being made increasingly from cold climate grapes grown in Tasmania and high altitude and or southerly parts of Victoria. These wines often stand stand comparison with good non vintage Champagne, albeit with a decidedly Australian character. The importance of the right varietal base (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and less importantly Pinot Meunier) has been handsomely demonstrated in Australia.Australian sparkling wines  have gone through several phases of development. Increasingly, the finest sparkling wines are made from Tasmanian grapes, with Macedon, the Yarra Valley, from Victoria and Adelaide Hills from South Australia other super - premium sources.

Domaine Chandon in the Yarra valley shares with Moet & Chandon a wine style with a style which emphasises mid palate softness without compromising a crisp, clean, and long finish. Its methods of achieving this have evolved and changed over fifteen years, as have the sources of its grapes.

As a consequence of targetting even cooler regions than the Yarra Valley including Tasmania, the high Strathbogie Ranges,and the Upper Yarra, a weighted average of thirty per cent of the base wines are taken through malolactic fermentation, with pinot Noir to the fore.Care is now taken to avoid bronze colouring in the key cuvees, which are brighter straw yellow. Australian sparkling red wine is an Australian speciality and is altogether different, though no less enjoyable, than a sparkling white. Italian lambrusco is of similar style, but unlike Australian red sparkling wine, uses no oak.

First a good quality dry red is made in the same way as table wine. The wine is matured for a time in oak casks and, with the balance of flavours achieved, red wine is sent off to the sparkling winemaker to be turned into fizz.

The wine is allowed to mature further on less in the bottle and, once the lees are disgorged, the wine is topped up with dosage of sugar and wine to create a more complex character and palate feel.

Having retained some tannins during manufacture and often having a slightly higher alcohol content content than sparkling white wines, sparkling reds can keep quite well and can mature further after release onto the market.

Again it is a style best drunk young and chilled. Australian sparkling red wine is well worth experimenting with at the table as it is a good accompaniment to a wide range of meat dishes, hot and cold and in particular it is a good choice of poultry dishes.


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