Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Apr 7, 2011 11:00 PM

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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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?