[image pinched from Fine Wine]
Winery: Peter Rumball Wines (Peter Rumball)
Vintage: Non Vintage
Style: Australia Sparkling Shiraz
Winemaking: (from the maker) “Methode Champenoise (MC) … the wine is fermented in, and stays in, the same bottle throughout the making of the sparkling red. The MC process allows maximum time on lees, giving better middle palate and balance to the wine. MC also gives finer bubbles, as bubbles reduce in size the longer the contact with the wine. This then gives a more creamy palate to the wine”.
Peter Rumball is a bit of a sparkling red legend, having advocated and made the style for decades. As the style gains popularity and prominence, the quality, quantity and appreciation of the style should increase; so, while it’s good now, things are going to get better.
Rumball’s SB18 has a medium to medium-full body, and looks a lot like the Joseph Sparkling Red (though this was a fraction of the price) being a maroon and blood-red amalgam. The bubbles are moderately fine, and create a pink mousse on top. The aroma made me think of Ribena at first, and maybe a touch of some stone fruit. The palate is very rich and full of flavour, with a dominant taste of prune juice, which makes for a nice change from the dominant licorice seen in recent bottles. SB18 maintains a dryness the whole way through, though the post-disgorgement licquering gives some sweetness.
I found it tasted a lot better after having let the bottle sit for 10 minutes are taking it out of the fridge, improving as the chill wanes. I also suspect that the SB18 will be appreciated after having had experience with the style, particularly as the pruniness may be offputting to some.
Looking forward to trying the Sparkling Merlot and the Sparkling Vintage… 3.5/5
Bought at Vintage Cellars for about $25 | Winemaker link: Rumball Sparkling Wines
Rumball’s championing of Sparkling Shiraz reminds me a little bit of Australian Football – and by ‘football’, I mean soccer – legend Johnny Warren, who persisted with his love of the game despite stereotypes and general disinterest. Australian soccer had been in disarray for years, with a shitty national league – the NSL – and a string of unsuccessful World Cup campaigns. Unfortunately, Warren passed away as Australian soccer began to hit puberty: The NSL was collapsing into the A-League, and not long after, the Socceroos made the World Cup in 2006 for the first time since 1974. Next year, we’re about to start an FA Cup style event throughout Australia, the FFA Cup.
That makes the next A-League match an ideal pairing. It’s fun, appreciation is growing, and it’s going to keep getting better (usual silly sporting controversies aside). Maybe one day (as with Warren’s ambition to do so with association football) when sparkling shiraz is esteemed in the eyes of the nation, Rumball will be able to say “I told you so!“.
The A-League isn’t always pretty…
Not in the mood? Innis and Gunn Canadian Cask Oak Aged Beer is worth a try. Aged in whiskey oak, it’s pretty unique.
[image from Folk & Ale]