Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Red Bubbles

I've read a bit lately about sparkling shiraz, an Australian quirk that some people like and others seem to despise. The thought of a sparkling red still gives me shivers, as I recall the Cold Duck on my parents' Easter dinner table. But sparkling shiraz is supposed to be dry, though I have never tried one for myself. In fact, a sparkling red wine of any kind is still rare enough in my neck of the woods that I was truly intrigued and anxious to partake of one at a recent winetasting event.

It was a Castello del Poggio Brachetto from the Piedmont region of Italy, where truly extraordinary reds are found. What could be a more promising vehicle for entering this new terrain?

Not everyone felt the same. A couple standing next to me took their first quaff, made faces and declared, "too sweet." I had my own doubts as I tasted, but I was at the very least not turned off. I took another sip and thought to myself, this actually would not be bad as an apperitif or as a dessert wine. With chocolate covered strawberries, simply heavenly.

Brachetto is, whithout a doubt, somewhat sweet and a bit simple. It has nice aromas of strawberries and cherry pie. But it is not cloying, by any means. And, it may do more than complement the dessert on your table. It might even work well with spicy Thai food.

But my hunch is that Brachetto will never really catch on and be enjoyed by more than a handful of fans of Italian wines. Most people I know are still afraid to be seen with a sweet wine, let alone a sweet red sparkler that's bound to cause your wine-swirling friends to want to check your papers. After all, riesling is only now starting to catch on with Americans, and that's after decades of wine experts and writers singing its praises. Brachetto has few champions.

Few will pine for this wine, but if you have a chance, especially with dessert, give it a chance. Especially on a warm summer day. Sorbet and sparkling wine anyone?


Blogger WineCompass said...

Sorry about leaving this message as a comment since it is the only means I see to communicate with you. We see that you are based out of Connecticut and would like to include Walk the Wine on our Connecticut wine page at Also, in a few weeks we will also be adding rss feeds from a few bloggers to a new Weekly Compass tab. Please contact us so that we can discuss adding Walk the Wine. Thanks.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I have wanted to try Sparkling Shiraz, but it is never stocked locally. A sparkling Italian red - I would definitely buy that just to try.

9:47 PM  

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