*I think at one time many of us have looked at a glass of white wine and wondered how far away it was from becoming a glass of sparkling wine. Not so far as it turns out! Did you know that with a few tips up your sleeve you can make your own sparkling shiraz and not only is it fun but it is absolutely delicious! *
The other day I was at a a very proper lunch in a very proper restaurant. It was for a launch and there were three media tables. I always find it interesting to see who is seated where. They were of course very careful not to seat rival publishing houses together and I tend to find myself usually sitting at a table with bloggers or digital influencers. The back of the bus crowd if you will. It's ok, we usually have a great time and usually feel like the naughty kids.
That day I met Drew Lambert from The Wine Wankers. We were sitting next to each other and he mentioned experimenting with making some sparkling shiraz and how surprisingly delicious it was. He was spurred on to make it by a woman called Cheryl Marshall who makes cask wine into "Australian Champagne". "Don't waste your money on making cordial or soft drink for the kids, it's too precious for that," said Cheryl in her broad Aussie accent. Crocodile Rock was playing in the background and she showed the very simple process of carbonating the wine.
Drew wondered what would it be like if you used a good bottle of wine as opposed to cask wine. A few days after we met (things move fast in the blogging world!) we did some playing around in his Bondi backyard to see if it would work! Drew explained that it was first made in the 1880s and until the 1990's it was called Sparkling Burgundy, a slightly odd name given that it had no French provenance and did not contain Pinot Noir. Australia now makes around 350,000 bottles of sparkling Shiraz a year but hardly any is produced in the rest of the world! It seems to be predominantly an Australian thing.
Here are some tips to making your own Sparkling Shiraz at home:
Make sure that you use a warm climate Shiraz. We used Chocolate Factory by Zonte's Footstep in McLaren Vale in South Australia. It retails for about $30 a bottle. You can also use a grenache, cabernet or zinfindel. Warmer climate shirazes are grown in: McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra or Rutherglen.
Cheryl also suggested adding strawberries or cordial. We used a Tawny port that Drew uses to make pate.
Chill the wine right down-place it in the fridge and then freezer for 1 hour prior to using it. Otherwise it will foam and overflow.
Use shiraz glasses. The bigger bowl will release more aromas.
Serve it with rich Asian curries, roast ducks, food with spices that will complement the spicy characteristics of the wine.
Wear black or dark colours in case it overflows!
We even filmed the whole process in a video. Please excuse the mess we made but it was lots of fun and we managed to water a lot of Drew's lawn too!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever wondered whether you could make sparkling wine out of wine? Have you ever tried sparkling shiraz before? Would you ever try making this?
- 1 litre/35.33 fl ozs. good quality warm climate Shiraz, chilled well and then placed in the freezer for 1 hour
- 60ml/2.12 fl ozs. tawny port
You will also need a soda stream or a similar instrument to carbonate the shiraz
Step 1 - Add the tawny port to the soda stream bottle. Fill the bottle up to the 1 litre measurement. Most wine bottles are 750ml so you will need to top it up with part of another bottle. Place in the soda stream and press down and carbonate. Wait for it to settle for a few minutes (you don't want it to explode). Serve in a shiraz glass.