Is That A Red Wine In Your Champagne Glass?

The other night I was feeling very experimental.  I’d had a few surprises at work that all turned out really well, so I figured I’d keep testing my luck.  I admit, it was probably a mistake. 

My WSET instructor mentioned in class that Australians love red sparkling wine and that one of their favorite wine tricks to play on Americans is to hand them a glass and watch for a  reaction, since our palates aren’t really used to red sparklers—rose, sure, full-bodied red, not so much.  That should probably have been my hint to stay away from the sparkling red wines, but I was too intrigued by the idea to say no when I saw the bottle of Hardy’s Sparkling Shiraz.

The grapes for Hardy’s Sparkling Shiraz (vineyard, snooth) were grown in South Australia, specifically in the McLaren Vale and Padthaway.  The wine was a deep, inky purple, so it was difficult to see the bubbles, but when I looked closely, the glass was full of rapidly rising, small bubbles.  The wine had a deep, fruit stew smell that was dominated by plums.  In the mouth, the wine was surprisingly light feeling and the bubbles were ver persistent.  The pluminess on the nose was just as strong in the mouth.   The plum flavors were followed by a by a hint of menthol, which gave the wine a very medicinal taste.  All together, the wine tasted like thick Dr. Pepper, with tiny champagne-type bubbles instead of the big, soda carbonation-type bubbles.

Is this worth a glass after work?  Eh…I think that depends on whether or not sparkling red wines are your thing.  At $19, buying a bottle of Hardy’s Sparkling Shiraz was a worthwhile experiment, but it confirmed that I prefer my bubbly to be light and refreshing, not heavy and dense.  I tried judging the wine on its merits as a shiraz rather than on my bubbly taste preference, since that was the purpose of this experiment, but even doing that, I think this sparkler was just OK.  It was too stewy to be anything more than that.   

Overall: 2 corks


  1. The Wino says

    I am glad you decided to be the guinnie pig for this one, because I would have tried it too! Now I can skip it…I trust your taste buds.

  2. Courtney says

    I had a sparkling shiraz a couple of years ago that I enjoyed (will try to remember the name).
    Funny – Hardy’s is my SIL’s “go-to” bargain Chardonnay.

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