Three sparkling red wines to try

Celebratory and relaxed: Sparkling red wine.
Celebratory and relaxed: Sparkling red wine. Photo: iStock

Summer holidays are a time of informal meals, of barbecues and picnics. Sparkling red is the right wine for these occasions. It's served chilled, which suits the weather. It's fizzy, which is celebratory and relaxed. And it's red, which means it copes with any meat you might throw on the barbie, and quite a lot of the seafood as well. Not to mention cold meats and charcuterie, a wide variety of cheeses, and more. Adaptability is its second name. Sparkling red was not invented in Australia, but it might as well have been. It's one of our signature wine styles.

Taltarni Sparkling Shiraz 2017, Victoria $26 

Score 89

The colour is deep and youthful, the bouquet delivering licorice, plum and black fruit aromas, the palate smooth and ample with lots of straightforward flavour driven by shiraz fruit and backed by noticeable sweetness and soft tannins. A good, honest sparkling red. Diam cork; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to six years.

Stockists include Nillumbik Cellars (Vic); Elizabeth Bay Cellars (NSW).

Mitchell Sparkling Peppertree Shiraz NV, Clare Valley $45 

Score 89

Deeply coloured, with hints of brick-red, and with a bold bouquet loaded with dried herb nuances, tinged with eucalyptus/mint. It's a big wine with masses of soft tannins balancing its sweetness and generous flavour. It would suit a smoky Aussie barbecue. Crown seal; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 10 years.

Stockists include Armadale Cellars & Boccaccio Cellars (Vic); Summer Hill Wine Shop & Harris Farm (NSW).

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The Willows Vineyard The Doctor Sparkling Shiraz NV, Barossa Valley $45 

Score 90

The colour is youthful and deep, the aroma plummy and gently spicy, with varietal fruit driving the wine. There are smoked-meat notes and the palate is big, bold and generous. The tannins are ample and the style is robust – capable of ageing to advantage. Diam cork; 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to 10 years.

Stockist thewillowsvineyard.com.au