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Sparkling Red Wine

About a month ago I went out to dinner with friends and we got a bottle of red sparkling wine. I've had regular and blush sparkling wine before, but never red. It was really good but I have no idea what it was. Does anyone have suggestions for a good red sparkling wine?

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  1. the aussies make sparkling shiraz. it is pretty heavy stuff. definitely an acquired taste.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jock


      I agree, and a taste that I have never cultivated. Maybe I have just not had any "good ones?"


      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Try the Majella Coonawarra Sparkling Shiraz.....might change your mind about them.

    2. My only experience with Australian shiraz sparkling was disastrous; it was at a friendly tasting, and everyone took a sip and then spit it out in horror, we emptied the bottles and glasses down the drain.

      I think Italians make something "better" but I will pass (unless someone offer me a glass for free to taste).


      2 Replies
      1. re: Maximilien

        Indeed !!! "it is pretty heavy stuff. definitely an acquired taste." I've had a sparkling Shiraz from Schild Estate that I think was a Wine Spectator top 100 wine (in it's still form, I think). Wow!!! Heavy it was!!

        1. re: Midlife

          I was given a half case of sparkling Shiraz from down under and after a few tries, I found it great for mixing, really helps out a punch and makes a great sangria. By it self i treated it like a alcholic soda, drinking it on ice. I was not sorry to see the last of it tho.

      2. We are pretty fond of Brachetto d'Acqui, a sparkling red from Piemonte, in Italy. But I would really categorize it as a dessert wine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChefJune

          A dessert wine certainly (and best friend of chocolate, the deeper and richer the better), but nonetheless a light wine that's refreshing and delicate on the palate.

        2. It is called Blanc de Noir which is 100% Pinot Noir. The only good Sparkling made from red grapes will be made from Pinot Noir.

          Almost all sparkling wine from the US and France has Pinot Noir in the blend. Try a US producer if you don't want to spend a lot of money (under $30) and look for Blanc de Noir on the label. Avoid the Sparkling Shiraz.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wineglas1

            With a name like wineglas, you would think you had a bit more understanding of what Blanc de Noir is. You couldn't be more wrong. I mean the translation alone means "white from red"...

            Depending on how it is made, the quality of a sparkling red wine can be very hit and miss. They are often mass produced, fake sweet and carbonated. (carbonating is a cost effective way of adding bubbles to wine vs bubbles forming through natural fermentation) If you want sparkling red wine that has been done right, look for one that has been done in either traditional method or transfer method. Traditional Method (also known as Method Champonoise) is a process that involves the conversion of sugars to alcohol in THE bottle. Its a process too cool for words.

            In addition to a good fruit structure usually sourced from Shiraz grapes, there are some other things that are needed with sparkling red wines. One is proper ripeness; picking too early could reveal some very phenolic tasting compounds. The other is sufficient acid, which is often related to when the grapes are picked - Acid is a challenge in some warm areas such as Australia. If, however, the winemaker can get the combo right the wine will reveal dark dry fruits with a soft yeasty palate (think traditional paczki), acid that keeps the wine balanced, and a bright pink voluminous stream of bubbles.

            As for recommendations.... If you can find them, look for...
            Barossa Valley Estates EE Sparkling Shiraz and Samuels Gorge Sparkling Red. This year was SG first vintage but it was brilliant. BVE is an old staple - could be tough to find, but quite good.

            If you can't find them then I say keep drinking what you enjoy or try some of the other recommendations on the board.

            1. re: redips

              Haven't taken french in quite some time but I'm pretty sure noir means black, not red. Rouge is red.

              1. re: heretic

                Yes you are right. It was a while ago, so not sure where my mind was, but I apologize to wineglas for the snark :)

                That said, the proper interpretation is White made from Dark. Basically, a 100% pinot noir would be a white sparkling, not a red sparkling.

                1. re: redips

                  Blanc/blancs = white/whites

                  Noir/noirs = black/blacks

                  Blanc de Noirs = white from blacks

                  And while it *is* true that one of the synonyms for "dark" in French is "noir," in terms of color the choice is typically "foncée" (as in "couleur foncée") . . . "noir" for dark is more associated with a mood, as in being in a dark (or black) mood.

                  (Or, at least, that's what I was taught in school.)

            2. re: wineglas1

              1) A wine labels "Blanc de Noir" (or, more accurately, "Blanc de Noirs") is NOT red in color. A perfect Blanc de Noir/Noirs will be the same color as "regular" sparkling wine, though some may have a slight coppery tinge or even be slightly pink. One thing they will NOT be is red.

              2) In the US, a sparkling wine produced and labeled as "Blanc de Noir" does NOT have to be 100% Pinot Noir. Indeed, it does not have to be 100% red wine grapes . . . .

              3) There are several Blanc de Noirs Champagnes which are exclusively produced from Pinot Meunier (i.e.: with ZERO percent Pinot Noir used).

              4) Why would anyone make a categorical statement, "Avoid the Sparkling Shiraz"??? YOU may not like them; indeed, I may not be a huge fan, but CLEARLY a number of Australian wineries make them . . . WHY??? Because people DRINK them and LOVE them!

            3. There's a Portuguese sparkling red - Alianca Tinto Bruto. Easy drinking red. Not heavy or desserty as some of the others referenced above. And if I recall, none too expensive, but I've only seen it once.

              3 Replies
              1. re: HunterJay

                Alianca (a largeish, middle of the road producer) is just one of the many sparkling red wines made in the Bairrada region of central Portugal. The main grape is usually the fiercely tannic Baga and the wine is a great match for leitao, a roast suckling pig that is a specialty of the area.

                1. re: HunterJay

                  HunterJay I think too many people drink wine because it is easy drinking. For me if there is no complexity I am not a fan.

                  1. re: wineglas1

                    (Well, as long as someone else revived this moribund thread . . . )

                    What makes "easy drinking" and "complex" mutually exclusive?

                2. There is plenty of sparkling red made in the Loire. To my mind it is not very pleasant - an acquired taste one might say...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dustbuddy

                    If it is not from Champagne or California (some from Oregon) I am not drinking it.

                    Cava and Prosecco are drinkable but over hyped by the industry as an alternative. Many Cava wines are a little more interesting than mineral water.

                    1. re: wineglas1

                      Never had a red cava or prosecco (though I have greatly enjoyed some of the whites). Learn something new everyday.

                      1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                        Ricardo, I don't think wineglas1 brought up Cava and Prosecco as examples of red wine (prosecco is acutally a white grape, so a red prosecco sparkling wine would really be something). Rather, I think wineglas1 interrupted the thread to just state the sparkling wines s/he will allow to cross his/her lips. Not really on topic.

                        1. re: Brad Ballinger

                          Thanks Brad. I did not intend it to be red grapes.

                  2. Lambrusco. Big punch of fruit and frizzante up front with a dry tannic finish. Good food wine. Like it with Chinese dishes particularly pork.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Chinon00

                      +2 on sparkling lambrusco, and for the same food, including most Thai.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        I'm fan as well. Love the idea of drinking it with pork. Wonder how it would hold up with duck?

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Hmmm - duck - That might work... what kind of duck dish are you thinking of?

                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            Nothing in particular ... was just a random thought.

                              1. re: PolarBear

                                Don't cold and Polar go together?

                      2. Thanks for your recommendations. I'm going to make a list and go shopping.

                        1. I had a red Txakolina that I really enjoyed awhile back, can't remember the label. I'd say the white version is probably better, but I did like the red. This isn't a true sparkling wine, though. It's merely a bit effervescent.

                          1. Any thoughts about using a sparkling red for cooking? I received a sparkling Shiraz as a gift awhile back and cannot imagine drinking it, especially after reading the comments on this post.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: masha

                              Why not? It works great, in fact, with turkey . . . . (for example).

                              1. re: zin1953

                                My dad loves the stuff at christmas because it is sweet and not bone dry like the Krug I brought home. It is a fun pleasant drink and cheap.

                                1. re: TheDewster

                                  Good Soaarkling Shiraz is not cheap-unless ~$20 a bottle is cheap for you. It is also not sweet. You might be thinking of Cold Duck?

                                  1. re: artychokeasana

                                    I tend to doubt that this bottle cost $20. It was in a gift basket from a coworker who typically spends about $20 for everything. My guess is the bottle cost about $10. And, yes, when I saw the bottle I did think of the Cold Duck that I drank in the 70s.

                                    My question stands. Can it be used for cooking? (Assume that I open the bottle, have a taste & don't like it. Will I be able to cook with it?)

                                    1. re: masha

                                      what's the brand? As for cooking-I don't reallly know. Hopefully someone else will. I would google cooking with champagne and see what the comments are and apply that info to the sparkling shiraz

                                    2. re: artychokeasana

                                      Not Baby duck that stuff tastes like baking soda

                                2. re: masha

                                  You can't imagine drinking it? Have you tried it? Wait... have you developed a pre-conceived notion about something you haven't even tried? Why? Because other people say they didn't like it? Seriously?

                                  This isn't directed specifically at you, rather a general statement, so please don't take offense. This attitude about wine is whats wrong with it. We rely too much on others opinions, writeups, publications, shelf talkers, bottle neckers, Robert Parker this, Steven Tanzer that, Gary Vee says, Jancis Robinson says, etc. Sure they may point us in the right direction, but people get so caught up in the 'snobbery' (I know hounders love that word) of it that they fail to trust their own taste - which, like everything else on a human, varies from person to person.

                                  I'm not saying you'd like it, in fact my educated analysis of sparkling shiraz is above should you care to read it, but without trying everything, you'll never know what you like. The best wines aren't always expensive, the worst wines aren't always cheap.

                                  Bottoms up

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      Absolutely, absolutely right, of course, unless it is my opinion.

                                  1. re: masha

                                    I think it is delicious and suggest that you at least try it. I love it with smokey, spicy Chinese food. And as Zin1953 said it is good with turkey-or Peking duck :-)

                                  2. Fox Creek makes a great sparkling Shiraz that is exported to the US.