Red Hot and Cold: The Top 20 Sparkling Reds this Christmas

Posted on Dec 20, 2018

Red is the official colour of Christmas.

Which is just as well because that’s also the same hue as Australia’s unique wine contribution to the festive season.

Don’t worry if you can’t stomach the thought of clutching an over-warm glass of full-throated tannins on a 40 degree day. The answer to everyone’s Christmas prayers is a chilled sparkling shiraz.

Originally known as sparkling burgundy, red bubbles were popularised by Australian wine pioneers as far back as the 19th century.

Australian sparkling reds today embrace a range of grapes from shiraz to durif, chambourcin, pinot noir, merlot and saperavi. Makers of the style aim to deliver traditional red characteristics such as “black fruits”, chocolate and liquorice but most also finish with a slightly sweet flourish that perfectly complements the excesses of the Christmas feast.

Experts tip the best way to drink sparkling red is to chill the bottle slightly. But don’t turn down the temperature too much as the wine’s tannins will be overly accentuated. It is still a red wine, after all.

Sparkling reds have been largely overlooked when talk turns to Australia’s sparkling wine scene. The show circuit has been well and truly dominated by white or rose bubbles over the past few years with Tasmanian whites particularly conspicuous.

However local fizz expert Tyson Stelzer set tongues wagging this year when his Australian Sparkling Report named a venerable old red as his top sparkler. He awarded 97 points to the $100 Seppelt Show Sparkling 2007 and declared it the “pinnacle of Australian sparkling”.

As with every critic, however, his assessment is just one man’s opinion. In our review of 1562 wine show scores covering 688 sparkling labels, we identified several other contenders. Our list of the Top 20 Australian sparkling reds follows.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas from Vinloco. We’ll return before the year is out to with a list of the top sparkling whites, roses and champagnes to pop on New Year’s Eve.

1 Thomas Vineyard Shirazamataz NV
2 Blue Pyrenees Sparkling Shiraz NV
3 Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz NV
4 O’Leary Walker ‘The Great Eastern’ Sparkling Shiraz 2012
5 Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz NV
6 Pepperjack Barossa Sparkling Shiraz NV
7 Morris Sparkling Shiraz Durif NV
8 Taltarni Sparkling Shiraz 2016
9 Shingleback Black Bubbles Sparkling Shiraz NV
10 Patritti Blewitt Springs Estate Sparkling Shiraz 2010
11 Brown Brothers Cellar Door Release Sparkling Shiraz 2015
12 Koonara The Golden Orb Sparkling Shiraz 2015
13 Finniss River Spk Shiraz 2016
14 Eight Carat Sparkling Shiraz NV
15 Gapsted Limited Release Sparkling Saperavi NV
16 Trentham The Family Maestri Frizzanti Sparkling Red 2018
17 Peregrine Ridge Sparkling Shiraz NV
18 Patritti Blewitt Springs Estate Sparkling Shiraz NV
19 Grant Burge Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet NV
20 Riccadonna Ruby NV

< Back to Blog