Sonja and I needed to meet with our web developer today to help prepare for the launch of a business we’re starting up. Given our love of wine and the fact that the business is wine-related, a wine bar seemed like a fitting place to meet. As it’s Memorial Day, I called ahead to be sure that Brix was open. One of the staff there, a man I like a lot whom we can call “Sam” for this piece, answered the phone. I asked if he’d chill a bottle of wine for us, something refreshing; we planned on walking over from our home, and it seemed like summer was finally starting to take hold.
When we arrived, Sam had three different wines chilling, though two of them I’d had recently, leaving only one wine, an oddity I’d never heard of, as the favorite. Paringa’s Sparkling Shiraz 2012 is certainly an intriguing wine. It’s got the dryness, presence of tannins, and deep coloration of a good Aussie Shiraz. It’s also got the weightless bubbles of a good sparkling wine. And it’s got the slight sweetness of… well… a slightly sweet wine. All in all, it was a rather peculiar juxtaposition of characteristics, and having had it, I’m not terribly surprised that sparkling shiraz hasn’t really caught on. That said, it did start to grow on us after a while, and we weren’t at all dissatisfied by it. We sipped at it over the course of our meeting, pairing it with focused conversation, and by the end only an empty bottle remained.
What was neat about the wine was that I’d never had anything at all like it. I go into Brix a lot, and Sam knows that more often than not I’m there to try something new, to learn more, gather knowledge, and expand my understanding of both the art form and the industry. I’m always trying something new, and I appreciated that Sam picked out something I was almost sure not to have tried, even if it wasn’t destined to make my top wines of the week.
Paringa’s Sparkling Shiraz 2012 is one part red wine, one part sparkling. For those who rue the coming of summer because hot days don’t pair well with dry red wine, this best-served-chilled anomaly may be an answered prayer. For the rest of us, it’s still worth a try. Credit for originality, and 83 points on my scale.