For quite a while now I’ve heard Aussie’s banging on about sparkling Shiraz. For those of you who’ve never tried it, I do mean Shiraz, the red wine grape that makes all those massive Rhône classics under the French name Syrah. Not sure why I picked out France in particular, it makes huge wines all over the world. In Australia though, they’ve been messing around with bubbles and struck upon liquid gold!
It’s a red wine with all the depth of flavour and heaviness of a shiraz, but with that light kick in the aftertaste of the bubbles. And it looks nice. Yeah I know that sounded stupid, but it does, it looks good in the glass. They’re not cheap, by the time they get over to the UK they’re north of £20 a bottle usually, but it’s worth it. And the Aussies have been raving for years that it’s perfect with pizza.
Well I managed to find an Italian rival to that pizza-pairing crown. It’s made from the Barbera grape, which is huge in Piemonte. Made over towards the East of Piemonte in the area of Monferrato, it’s called…well…Barbera del Monferrato…obviously enough.
It’s not as heavy as the Syrah/Shiraz versions, and isn’t made to cope with 10 years ageing in the bottle. But it’s fresh, fruity, deep enough (13.5%-14% alcohol), and you can serve it chilled. And it’s no more expensive than a normal Barbera. Warm evening with a couple of slices out in the back garden? Lovely stuff!
I tried my Barbera del Monferrato at Cantina Urscheler, give me a shout if you fancy trying it. I’ll get them to send something over.