Why sparkling shiraz is not just for Christmas

Join the sparkling shiraz party!
Join the sparkling shiraz party! Photo: iStock

Wine (rant) for Christmas

Call me a predictable Gen-Xer, who harps on about forgotten Australian wine styles, and how young folk should be drinking more of them, but it's time for my annual paean to the pinnacle of Christmas drinks, that dead-set Aussie classic, sparkling red.

With its festive purple appearance, its rich black fruit and its lick of sweetness, this strange anomaly of the wine world (who would have thought putting ripe, full-bodied shiraz through a secondary fermentation in the bottle could taste so delicious?) is a perfect match for festive fare.

Sparkling red is fabulous with roast turkey and glazed ham and all the trimmings on Christmas Day; it's great with cold turkey-and-ham sangas on Boxing Day.

But don't just save the fizzy red stuff for Christmas. It also pairs beautifully with Peking duck, or char siu bao at yum cha. And it's sensational with Australian game meat: pop open a bottle the next time you're barbecuing some roo, or emu steaks.

Soon, you'll be waxing lyrical about this neglected wine style, too.

Wine for pinot lovers

Tasting the 2020 Howard Park Flint Rock pinot noir from the Great Southern region of WA recently, I was seduced by its delicious, pure black-cherry fruit. And then stunned to find it costs $28 a bottle. Not exactly a bargain, but as lovers of pinot noir know, twenty-eight bucks is good value for a really cracking example of their favourite grape. howardparkwines.com.au

Wine gadget

If, for some inexplicable reason, you're someone who likes to keep half-finished bottles of posh champagne to drink another day, then Coravin Sparkling is for you.

You place a sturdy stopper over the top of the bottle, inject carbon dioxide, then place the securely sealed bottle in the fridge, where it stays fresh and fizzy for two weeks. At $700 the device isn't cheap but that might not be such an issue if you're someone who can afford posh champagne. coravin.com.au

Wine in the pink

If you're looking for a good, pale, dry rosé to drink at one of the many sun-drenched picnics, barbecues and catch-ups you'll no doubt be attending this summer, try one of these: 2021 Atmata Rosé ($18), from a new range of good-value certified organic wines; 2021 Varney Entrada Rosé of Grenache ($25), from an exciting new McLaren Vale producer; or 2021 Scorpo Rosé ($28), made from Mornington Peninsula shiraz.


Wine book

Wine producer Brett Hayes has teamed up with writer Steve Leszczynski to publish Grenache: Barossa Grown, a beautifully illustrated exploration of the renaissance of this old grape variety in South Australia's most important wine region.

Featuring tasting notes and food-matching ideas from local growers, makers and chefs, the book can be ordered direct from the winery for $20.

Wine wishlist

Who Mount Mary

What 2019 Quintet

Why Classic cabernet doesn't come much better or more elegant than this.

When Christmas Day, 2021 to 2051.

How much $175

Where mountmary.com.au

Max Allen is an award-winning journalist and author, who has written about wine and drinks for close to 30 years.