Pic source: thewinemuse
Australians are drinking more Champagne than ever! Latest statistics show that we bought over five million bottles in 2012 and are now the seventh largest importer of the French bubbles.
I know that I have succumbed to temptation once or twice in the past year or so, who else?
And so with the strength of the Aussie Dollar, there are more imported sparkling wines such as Champagne, cava and Italian prosecco on our shelves and on our wine lists. Whereas in the past, Champagne has been out of reach of many of us, good Champagne can now be bought for less than $40 and if you know where & when to look less than $35.
However, I believe that Australians have always had bubbles in our blood. We have always had a healthy appetite for sparkling wine and not just the imported wine from that hallowed region of France, Champagne (the only wine to legally be able to be called ‘Champagne’). Australian sparkling wine should not be considered an ‘also ran’ in this race. We have made some remarkable contributions to the sparkling wine world, we just do not tell the world about it and only export a very small fraction of what we produce.
Ever noticed that the pop of the cork brings a smile to the faces around you. This is because the Champagne houses have, for well over a century, invested a lot of effort into creating the association between Champagne and celebration. Whether it be in recognition of an achievement big or small, celebrating a wedding or a birth, there is usually cork popping bubbles involved.
Would we go ooh! aah! if the winner of the Grand Prix sprayed Red Bull everywhere, or celebrated with a nice cup of Java? I don’t think so!
The best sparkling wines in Australia are coming from the regions with the coolest climates, not too dissimilar to those of Champagne. Tasmania and Tumbarumba produce wines that are taut with citrus fruit at their heart. Areas such as Central and Southern Victoria and Adelaide Hills produce wines with a slightly riper, more stonefruit profile.
Over recent years, I have noticed that Australian Prosecco has been popping up in conversations as well as in our glasses. The producers in Victoria’s King Valley have been doing great things with this wine. Look for the distinctive and elegantly curved bottle that will add an extra touch of grace to any occasion.
And let’s not forget light frothy moscato, with its grapey, Turkish delight guile that brings with it a sweet sense of fun that is in no way the domain of just the girls. The best have some savoury complexity and make great aperitifs or dessert wines.
So next time you reach for a bottle of the bubbles, why not choose Australian?
Arras 2004 Grand Vintage ($70) – This is one for full flavoured, finely textured Champagne lovers with its rich brioche, honey and almond nougat opulence overlaying the zesty citrus fruit, peel and all. The lushness is kept fresh with a line of acid along the long toasted length with a taut finish. A good fizz for that special celebration or to enjoy with a light starter to put a touch of luxury to your meal.
Yellowglen Perle 2009 ($25) – Soft ripe apple and citrus with yeasty bread and nuts provide plenty of interest while delivering creamy texture. Well-made and well priced. A refreshing aperitif style of crisp bubbles.
Brown Brothers NV Prosecco ($19) – A crowd pleasing style of Australian prosecco with pretty floral scented, apple and lemon/lime. The fruit is fresh and generous while still zipping along the tongue. Served chilled with friends.
Majella Sparkling 2007 Shiraz ($28) – Plum hued gorgeousness flows from the bottle offering rich cassis, liquorice, and mint chocolate. Velvety and smooth, think outside the box with this one: it would accompany dark chocolate almost as well as bacon & eggs.
Wirra Wirra Mrs Wiggly Moscato ($18) – A moscato should be delicate and this one is all that it should be, a pale pink, but no means insipid, bubbly. There is a lovely soft lick of musky sweetness and frothy bubbly, all kept together with fresh acid. Not just for summer, although it certainly makes you think of cheerfulness and warmer days.
This article has also appeared in the QCMagazine April 2014 Edition