We opened up a Sparkling Shiraz the other night, because we were having Roast Pork Belly on a night when it seemed the best match. The experts say, Pinot Noir or Alsatian Riesling are a better match, but in their absence we “made do” with a Peel Estate Sparkling Shiraz 2005 and it was excellent. It may be an even better match than those recommended by the experts and perhaps the reason they don’t recommend Sparkling Shiraz is that it is almost exclusively an Australian creation.
And I don’t really understand why this is so. The Champagne region charges more for its Rosé than for its white variety, but it doesn’t make red Champagne. Italy and, of all places, Moldova make some Sparkling reds, but no other country makes them from Shiraz. Of course, we also make Sparkling reds from other grapes as well, but Shiraz is the most popular. And they really are a delightful drink, and I don’t understand why they don’t just fly off the shelves.
The Peel Estate example mentioned above was picked up cellar door when we were in Perth celebrating a 70th Birthday. I know, it’s sad when you think that it seems like only yesterday all my friends were turning 30, and now in a flash they are turning 70. The good part is they are still our friends 40 years on. But back to Peel Estate which is located in the region designated Peel Wine Region, close to the Perth Hills Region, and approximately 45 kilometres south of Perth. The winery has only been established since 1979, but from the early stages was recognised as a winery to watch. The cellar door is low key but friendly, and we had a lovely time sampling the wines and ordered a dozen to be sent by courier to our home in Brisbane. I now regret not buying more of the Sparkling Shiraz, because it was remarkable, and even more so because I bought it in 2011, so it was already 5 years old when I bought it. Most of my purchases are usually much younger and need to be cellared for longer, so it is a treat to get one already aged. Of course, they mostly sell a non-vintage Sparkling Shiraz at around $25/bottle, but it is currently sold out.
At the risk of being accused of rodomontade, I should add here that my Roast Pork Belly is renowned for its tenderness, spices (secret recipe), perfect crackling and juiciness and I have served it with both Pinot Noir and Alsatian Riesling, and while they are excellent accompaniments to the food, it is very hard to beat the Sparkling Shiraz. I do really regret not buying more of it when I had a chance, but I had already spent so much on the holiday I decided to cut back the quantity I ordered. A wise person once said to me that money didn’t matter, it was only pieces of plastic with faces on them, and it wasn’t important. If I had listened when at Peel Estate I would have had more Sparkling Shiraz bottles to look forward to.
By The Tipsy Farmer