Swapping Sparkling Shiraz

After a long, crazy day at work, there is very little that helps me decompress like a glass of wine, except for a glass of wine paired with some knitting. While this can obviously be a dangerous pairing, particularly when drinking more than one glass of wine, it can also be a great way to unwind. In many ways, the type of I’m using yarn can enhance the tasting experience, as there is nothing quite like knitting with a luscious piece of yarn that glides through your fingers while drink a full-bodied, velvety red that fills your mouth in much the same way as the yarn fills your hands.

Not surprisingly, in the same way that wine lovers have social networks like Wine 2.0 or Boozemonkey, which bring together all aspects of the wine industry (wine lovers, winemakers, sommeliers, vineyards, wine marketers, wine bloggers, etc), knitters have the Ravelry, which brings together all aspects of the knitting industry (knitters, crocheters, designers, independent dyers, spinners, store owners, etc.). Being the joiner that I am, I love talking with other knitters on Ravlery. What’s even more exciting is that I found a wonderful forum of knitters that are also fellow wine lovers, so it was only natural that this group started arranging yarn and wine swaps.

Our most recent swap centered around sharing Australian wine. My swapper, DiverGrrl, bought most of the items she sent from local stores. With the help of sommelier Frederick Armstrong at Wine About It, she purchased a bottle of The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz and paired it with beautiful Imperial Stock Ranch yarn from Abundant Yarn. She also sent a cute sheep pin and stitch markers that she made herself.

The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz (winery, snooth) was Shiraz and Viognier grapes and had a very deep purplish ruby, with small persistent bubbles. On the nose, the Shiraz was very subtle, with mostly berry aromas. In the mouth, the wine was surprisingly fruity. There were blackberry, plum, cocoa powder, and licorice flavors, mixed with a hint of something medicinal—maybe eucalyptus. However, while I expected the wine to be very bubbly on the tongue, it was fizzier more than anything else, and the fizz faded rather quickly. The Shiraz had a full body with soft tannins, and the finish was short.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll definitely have a decent, reliable glass of wine. At $16, this wine would be an ok choice if you’re dying to try a Sparkling Shiraz, but it’s not a wine that I would purposefully go looking for. I also think that I’ve decided that Sparkling Shiraz is just not my thing. It’s not that I would turn down a glass if it were offered, but I prefer the full body and the solid tannins of a good still Shiraz to the bubbles of a sparkling one. It just feels funny to have the heavier red wine mixed with bubbles, although it’s definitely something you should try if you haven’t already.

Thanks, DiverGrrl, for sending a great package of yarn and wine!

Overall: 3 Corks


  1. Ryan says

    Nice review. Kind of in the same boat as you one sparkling Shiraz. I've had Black Bubbles by Shingleback, and it was fun, but definitely unexpected. I look at it in the opposite fashion (though I love a good still Shiraz) it's weird to have a sparkler that's so dense! I'd still gladly try this one though – especially to compare to the Shingleback. I'm intrigued by the blend of Shiraz & Viognier.

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