Leasingham Classic Clare sparkling shiraz 2004

90+ points

Clare Valley, South Australia. 14%

Tonnes of flavour. Quite sweet. Seems very youthful for 6 years. Probably best from 2018.

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Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2006

91 points

13.5%

Youthful and dark colour.

This once was Seppelt Great Western Sparkling Burgundy. In more recent years it’s been sourced from a variety of places and quality varied somewhat but in recent years it is back as the best value sparkling red in Australia and a wine of distinctive style.

It’s red fruited, quite unlike some sweeter and black fruit to prune flavour competitors. Quite tight and reserved, though there is clear varietal flavour. This is rather dry, very food oriented. Indeed almost too dry to drink without food. I have a fear that it may simply dry out and fall over with age as some Seppelt Victorian wines have had a tendency to do – even though they start life seeming so dark and concentrated that they will live a long while.

Time will tell. But at the moment it’s a classy flagbearer for sparking shiraz in Australia.

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Ashton Hills Sparkling Red 1998

91 points

Clare Valley, South Australia. 13%

This is wine from the Wendouree vineyard revitalised by secondary fermentation. Stephen George, Ashton Hills winemaker is consultant at the iconic Wendouree.

I’ve always thought this sparkling shiraz was very unusual, much drier and less exuberant than others. I was recently told at cellar door that it isn’t shiraz, but a Cab/shiraz/malbec blend (if I recall correctly). It tastes very much like a delightfully old-fashioned Aussie red from the days when 13% was a big red. Dry, slightly leathery. Savoury yet charming still.

A style that some drinkers today may sadly find quite under-stated, and difficult to understand.

Enjoy now.

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