The uniquely Australian sparkling shiraz

By Georgia Spanos

22 May, 2023

The sparkling shiraz style is uniquely Australian, and can be enjoyed alongside an array of occasions, dishes and desserts.

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. Although Australia cannot claim the shiraz grape itself, the sparkling shiraz style is uniquely Australian. It’s a diverse variety, enjoyed on a hot summer's day by the pool, with a lazy lunch hovering around the barbecue, and on special occasions when dozens of indulgent dishes populate the table — sparkling shiraz is Australia’s ultimate companion.

  • How sparkling shiraz was born

Sparkling shiraz, originally named sparkling burgundy, was first created in 1881 by the Victorian Champagne Company (pioneered by a Melbourne doctor and parliamentarian) in collaboration with the French winemaker Auguste D’Argent. D’Argent was employed by the Victorian Champagne Company to share his wine expertise upon Australian soils. Their sparkling burgundy was rose coloured, and rather short lived.

 Some time after sparkling burgundy was created, another fellow Frenchmen Edmund Mazure began winemaking in Australia. He was interested in producing sparkling red varieties, and worked in South Australia on a shiraz vineyard. He is also honoured as a creator of Australian sparkling shiraz.

 Sparkling shiraz is often seen bubbling on the dining table, shining bright amongst a breakfast spread, and is fantastic on cooler nights too.

A glass of sparkling shirazSparkling shiraz (originally sparkling burgundy) was first produced in 1881.

  • Affordable and excellent bottles of sparkling shiraz

To the knowledge of many, you don’t have to spend enormous amounts for a great bottle of wine. Sparkling shiraz is a variety where quality and affordability work as one. Herbert Vineyard Sparkling Shiraz James Halliday says has “good balance: light and spicy fruit; not complex or intense” and is an all-round crowd pleaser. Seppeltsfield Glenpara Gert’s Blend Sparkling Shiraz notes spices, bitter liquorice, and is “cleverly put together”. Seppeltsfield Silverband Grampian Sparkling Shiraz is a particularly spicy example of the variety, with red fruits strongly prevalent and is “immediately enjoyable”. Any of these bottles will have you equipped for a uniquely Australian affair.

  • Dishes that best pair with sparkling shiraz

The foods that pair well with sparkling shiraz are just as full flavoured as the wine itself. Breakfast is a common companion to the variety, paired with omelettes, eggs, beans, and pastries. Decadent dishes balance perfectly with sparkling shiraz, including rare beef with red wine sauce or roasted duck, as well as sweet and sticky mains: Chinese sticky barbecue pork, teriyaki salmon, and peaking duck pancakes to name a few. Conveniently, almost every classic diner dish marries romantically with sparkling shiraz. Roasted lamb and beef, baked potatoes, beans and vegetables, and fruit-forward desserts like pudding or tarts are all winners.

A breakfast spread at RusticaSparkling shiraz pairs perfectly with all the brunch trimmings.

  • What else to do with sparkling shiraz

Looking for a showstopper on your next dinner occasion featuring sparkling shiraz? Here are some fun ideas to jazz up your parties. 

Try making sangria with the variety. Just add orange and lemon rinds, cinnamon, brandy, and a dash of soda. You could also add a squeeze of orange juice too, if you enjoy citrus. The fruit additions to this variety make a great cocktail starter before lunch is served. 

Sparkling shiraz punch is also fantastic and refreshing on a hot summer day. Just add grapes, berries, mint, and soda. If preferred, add a dash of lemon juice for extra bite.

 And for the sweeter side to sparkling shiraz, drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream into a glass for dessert. What erupts resembles a spider milkshake, yet on a more elegant, and extraordinary scale.

  • Unique bottles of sparkling shiraz to gift

Sparkling shiraz makes for a wonderful gift to be enjoyed by the receiver at any time of the year. As mentioned above, the variety offers fantastic bottles, which are highly rated, and decently priced, although if you wish to go the extra mile for someone special, these impressive bottles are fantastic for gifting:

Seppelt Show Sparkling Limited Release Grampians Shiraz sits at the top of leading sparkling shiraz. It’s an iconic bottle that’s come from years of crafting. James commends its excellence as a “unique and great Australian red wine”. 

Barossa Valley Estate E&E Sparkling Shiraz is another excellent choice. Its flavours prove complex, embodying plum, mocha, and at times dark chocolate. James appreciates the finish, saying that it’s “carefully managed so that it is not heavy or sweet”. He also says that it is “One of the best examples at the present time.”

Related article: Best Australian sparkling wine $20 and under

Images credits: Wine Australia and Visit Victoria.