Happy Hour With Moorooroo | Sparkling Shiraz A Brief History

Sparkling Shiraz
A Brief History

Sparkling Shiraz is a Barossa classic and has its origins here in South Australia. Read on for a brief breakdown of this iconic, uniquely Australian wine.

“The pouring of a Sparkling Red is made more enticing by the effervescent mousse or bubbles. Yet the big appeal lies in the complexity that bottle age imparts. Aged wines or those that have enjoyed extensive contact on yeast lees show great complexity and a creamy, velvety mouthfeel.” (Wine Selectors, 2020)

While Sparkling reds may seem uniquely Australian, and therefore relatively new in the history of wine styles, using red grapes to make sparkling wines is a centuries-old tradition. While the sparkling wines of old-world tradition range from almost colourless to golden hues, Pinot Noir, a red wine grape, is one of the key varieties used to make Champagne. 

The beginnings of sparkling reds in Australia can be attributed to Auguste D’Argent who began making a ‘sparkling Burgundy’ for the Victorina Champagne Company, in Melbourne, in 1881. The wine was reportedly rose colour and the venture was ultimately short-lived. Edmund Mazure pioneered the use of méthode traditionnelle or méthode champenoise in Australia and began using specifically the Shiraz variety to make sparkling wines in 1893 at the Auldana winery near Adelaide, South Australia, and thus true Australian sparkling Shiraz was born.

“Nothing says magnificent like a glass of sparkling shiraz, highlighting dark berries, sweet plum, cherry and spices. A simple addition of this sparkling red can transform any table into something spectacular.” (Georgia Spanos, 2018)

Sparkling Shiraz has gone through periods of varying popularity in Australia, eventually settling into a favourite celebratory staple. While traditional method sparkling Shiraz can sometimes be challenging to find at your local bottle shop, there is still an encouraging number of producers who champion this very labour-intensive winemaking style.

At Moorooroo Park Vineyards we proudly produce our Silentium Sparkling Shiraz using the traditional method resulting in a finely beaded, textural wine that is equally at home as a household staple and a showstopping centrepiece.

As ever, we hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look into the story behind an Australian favourite. 

-Wine Selectors, “Sparkling Red.” https://www.wineselectors.com.au/wine-selectors/wine-varieties/sparkling-red. 2020
-Adelaide AZ, “Frenchman Edmond Mazure’s influence on South Australian wine from 1884 includes sparkling burgundy”. https://adelaideaz.com/articles/frenchman-edmond-mazure-s-influence-on-south-australian-wine-from-1884-includes-creating-sparkling-burgundy. 2020
-Adelaide Hills Wine Region, “Our Story.”https://www.adelaidehillswine.com.au/region/our-story/. 2020
– The University of Newcastle Australia “Seaview Winery McLaren Vale Label [n.d.]” https://livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au/nodes/view/63967. 2020
-Halliday Wine Companion. “The Uniquely Australian Sparkling Shiraz” Georgia Spanos. https://www.winecompanion.com.au/articles/news/sparkling-shiraz-is-all-you-need-this-christmas. 12 Dec 2018.

In Bottle

2012 Silentium Sparkling Shiraz was created from select barrels from the Lotties Vineyard, which were set aside to age in oak for three years. They were individually bottle-fermented then aged on yeast lees for two and a half years in the traditional méthode champenoise. This vintage is an outstanding example of Barossa Sparkling Shiraz, that has a heady aroma of fresh boysenberry, vanilla and spice followed by a bright, lively, mousse-like palate that sings with plum. The finish is warm and well rounded, and you’ll detect notes of fresh strawberry.

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