BLISS - Sparkling Shiraz
Visually gorgeous, with bubbles foaming up a beautiful pink color over the dark red-black core of the wine.
In Australia when you visit a friend’s home the first wine out of the fridge is a sparkling red and I mean a real red wine with great flavor and texture but also with bubbles, served chilled.
Bliss is another risky, financially absurd, delicious ego trip for Bill. Who else would take a beautiful Shiraz ready to be bottled and decide to spend an extra three years turning it into a sparkling Bliss?
Of course just shooting it full of bubbles was not good enough, Bill insisted on the full-blown méthode champenoise traditional method of making the highest quality sparkling wine just as has been done for centuries in the Champagne region of France . This involves secondary fermentation in bottle, disgorging and dosage, not to mention all that racking. What a job!
Amazing texture and balance - this wine shows lovely pure, sweet plum and blackcurrant fruit with a nice dark edge finishing with a refreshing tang from the bubbles.
There's a tiny bit of sweetness in the black fruits which adds to the texture, making it feel beautifully ripe Shiraz. The alcohol is quite low at 12.5% with easy tannin, low acidity and a long finish so this a very interesting, unique style of wine that can be enjoyed by both red and white lovers, with or without food.
Only 460 cases produced.
A well-made sparkling red must show characteristics of the varietal from which they're made such as Malbec, Shiraz, etc. They should also reflect the terroir where they're grown, their sense of place. Using traditional methode champenoise to produce these wines ensures the smaller bubble structure making them more food-friendly than a still wine made from the same grapes.
With no point of reference most Americans are unaware of the quality and pleasure these wines bring and good sparkling wines simply cannot be cheap. Serious sparkling reds take a lot more work and time to make than still red wines, and they're always in short supply, usually made in lots of less than 500 cases.
The result however, justifies the cost and work and time to make them the right way using the right grapes because the result is a fun, delicious, food-friendly wine.
If you want to make a great wine, use great fruit so we use the same fruit that we use for our reserve red wines. The texture and richness in the sparkling wine is more important than the acidity and letting the grapes stay on the vine as long as we would for a reserve wine enables riper flavors.
When the still wine is finished fermentation and barrel aging, we employ a process to carefully remove alcohol molecules from the wine, lowering its overall alcohol in line with early picked champagne.
The still wine is then bottled in champagne bottles and small amounts of sugar and yeast are added to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle, producing the bubbles.
The bottles are then capped with a crown seal, much like a beer cap, and left to ferment, then age in the cellar for three years. This gives the wine a creaminess and integrates the tiny bubbles which helps make the wine work better with food than the same wine without the bubbles.
In the next stage, just as with white sparkling wines, the bottles are gradually turned upside down in a process known as "riddling" so that all of the spent yeast and other particles that could cloud the wine gravitate down toward the cap. These solids are then disgorged, and a sweet mixture of wine and sugar syrup is added. The wine is then stoppered with a Champagne cork, and after a shorter additional aging period to settle it down, it's time to enjoy.
Two years in French Oak then bottle fermented for a further three years.