The beauty of Australian vintage sparkling wines

Sparkling wine part two


A couple of weeks ago the review section covered non-vintage sparkling wine. After taking a week off to review Aldi wines, we now return with vintage sparkling wines.

Australia is a huge importer of champagne, yet many of the wines below match or outshine their French rivals. Why can’t top-quality Australian sparkling wines get a larger, more appreciative audience?

Do we need to have a national sparkling wine body? Coming up in November is Effervescence Tasmania 2016. For full details visit .

It looks quite a posh affair, but with some great offerings of food and sparkling wines, so if you’re into the gourmet/wine side of life, I think it could be worth it.

All the wines below rang my bell. It was a joyful tasting indeed.

Howard Park ‘Grand Jeté’ Brut 2011: An 82 per cent chardonnay 18 per cent pinot noir blend, this is very well put together. A wine fussed over and polished until considered just right, for me it lacked the depth I expected, but this is a minor point. 94 points and a fair price at $40.

Seppelt ‘Salinger’ 2011:  This is a $26 bottle of sparkling wine from Dan Murphy’s. The price is unbelievable. I know one shouldn’t start with price, but it’s at least $12 cheaper than it should be.  There’s plenty of toast, and enough complexity to make one think while drinking. I note Huon Hooke said, It’s clean and refreshing, but just doesn’t have a huge amount of character”, and gave it 90 points. I think it has developed character and give it 94.

Seppelt ‘Original’ Sparkling Shiraz 2013: With grapes sourced from Victorian vineyards, this is as good as it always has been. Full of flavour without being over-sweet, which some sparkling reds can be, it’s classy and in a strange way the bubbles are not fun but an integral part of the shiraz, highlighting the grape in an unique way. 94 points and excellent value at about $20. 

Delamere Vineyards Tasmania Cuvee 2012: Tost on the nose, balance and elegance across the palate, and a finish that hits the sweet spot. 95 points $45 is not at all unreasonable.

Chandon ‘Brut’ 2012: The house style is maintained, as is the quality. It could do with more bottle age, but is drinking very well at the moment. With home-grown quality such as this, why do people spend more than $50 on a bottle of champagne? 94 points and worth $35.

Yarra Burn Yarra Valley 2012: This contains the full trio of French champagne grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meuniere, with fruit all sourced from the Yarra Valley. The complexity shows, and not just from the mix of grapes. It has depth and length, and is good, sound wine. 93 points and a good price at $23.

Coldstream Hills Pinot-Chardonnay 2012: The sample arrived without a retail price, and I can’t find it on sale either in retailers or on the Coldstream website. I know Coldstream only makes small amounts; perhaps it’s already sold out. Taste wise it’s lightly perfumed and rapier like on the palate to start, but good flavours appear on its journey and it comes to a fine and pleasing finish. Made by Andrew Fleming, it’s a blend of pinot noir (54 per cent) and chardonnay (46 per cent). 93 points.

Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvee 2010: Depth and length and flavour. Beautiful to savour each sip. 95 points and worth the $42 asked.

Hardy’s ‘Sir James’ 2009: Want a quality sparkling for whatever reason? This is $23 from Dan Murphy’s (vintage may change from store to store). It’s a fantastic sparkling wine. Snap it up if you can. 94 points.

House of Arras Tasmania Blanc de Blanc 2004: Dan Murphy’s is listing the 2005 at $60. I have no idea why the company sent the 2004 for review.          But I do have an idea about the wine, a very firm idea that leans very strongly towards good wine, well made, well blended and well matured. 95 points and worth $60 if still available, but I’m sure consistency will win out and the 2005 will also be worth it.

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