Complex and versatile, the excellent red sparkling wines coming out of Australia are getting more popular by the day. If you are looking for an extra special bottle of red bubbles, I definitely recommend trying this favourite of mine, the Peppermint Paddock from d’Arenberg.
Are you familiar with sparkling red wine?
It seems sparkling red wine is a style that continues to divide opinions. Or perhaps it is simply misunderstood by those who don’t like it.
Though sparkling red is not a new type of wine – it has been around since sparkling wine exists – it is still made in significantly lower numbers and continues to be overlooked even by the most die-hard wine lovers.
Red sparkling wines are made using the same methods as regular (aka white and rosé) sparkling wines. Which is either the traditional Champagne method or the Charmat or Tank method. They get their reddish colour from contact with the skins of red grape varietals.
Red bubbles are heavier than other types of sparkling wines and therefore pair perfectly well with meat dishes like roast, ribs, stews, grilled red meat, tomato-based pasta dishes but also rich chocolate desserts.
Thanks to continuously rising quality levels, their high versatility and being still fairly affordable, sparkling red wines are gaining a steadily growing following.
Sparkling red wine is made in many regions around the world. Yet it is safe to say, Australia is one of the regions that has had a lot to do with putting sparkling reds back into fashion. In fact, sparkling Shiraz from Australia in recent years has become something of a very well-known secret. The list of excellent red bubbles from Australia has indeed grown quite significantly.
Unfortunately, however, it is still difficult to get hold of many of them outside Australia. Therefore, I’ve been absolutely enthusiastic to find the Peppermint Paddock from acclaimed d’Arenberg winery in McLaren Vale, Australia being sold on my favourite wine outlet here in Europe.
Read on to learn more about the winery and the Peppermint Paddock red sparkling wine.
Background: McLaren Vale and d’Arenberg winery
The last (and only) time I visited Australia was shortly after finishing school, and well before I was getting into visiting wine regions and developing some random knowledge about wine. Therefore, you will certainly not be surprised to hear it is one of the destinations high up on my bucket list.
The acclaimed McLaren Vale, one of Australia’s excellent wine regions, is located just around 45 minutes from Adelaide. The area is not only known to produce some of the best wines in Australia but also to be a hot spot for incredible culinary experiences. Add to that the proximity to the coast with many kilometres of pristine beaches along with several hiking, cycling or riding trails leading through a stunning natural environment.
Of the many excellent wineries in the McLaren Vale, D’Arenberg is among the historic leaders in winemaking and contributing to make the area one of the most acclaimed winegrowing regions globally.
The story of d’Arenberg is an amazing family story that started with the immigration of family patriarch Joseph Osborne, arriving in Victoria in 1854 with his parents. Though his first love was football, and he did not drink alcohol at all, he later joined and eventually become a director with an Australian wine merchants’ company. But wait. From there it was not straightforward into winemaking. First, he become a successful jockey (!) but sold his stable in 1912 to purchase the d’Arenberg property.
Fast forward to today, the winery continues to thrive on continued innovation in both wine and wine tourism experiences.
Personally, I am drawn to visit a winery not only because of the wine (and possibly on-site dining) but also by architecture, art and design. A combination that, thankfully, today can be found at many wineries around the world.
I’d seen a picture of the futuristic cube in the midst of a vineyard somewhere in a wine magazine and then forgotten where it was actually located. Until, stumbling over a review of the d’Arenberg red sparkling wine, I went onto the winery’s website for more information… and there it was again.
I became even more excited to learn the cube is not merely an artistic eyecatcher in the vineyards. Nope. The award-winning cube is home to the winery’s tasting room. Can you imagine sitting on the top level of this structure, overlooking the famous McLaren Vale, the Willunga Hills and the Gulf St Vincent while enjoying some of the winery’s best wines?
Before or after the tasting, a visit to the Alternate Realities Museum, a contemporary art gallery, located on the ground floor is definitely in order as well.
Or you could try your hand at blending your own wine, followed by a degustation menu in the on-site restaurant. And should you be interested in doing so, I am pretty sure you will choose combining it either with a helicopter or a scenic flight in a 1930s open cockpit biplane.
I for my part am sold. If only I could buy my ticket to nearby Adelaide just now. OK, I can’t, but the McLaren Vale and d’Arenberg are firmly on my bucket list!
Review: Peppermint Paddock d’Arenberg red sparkling wine
There are various reasons that sparked my interest in sparkling red wines in general and this excellent red bubble in particular.
First off, it’s an eyecatcher. You can’t overlook the sturdy bottle with the bright artful label displaying hues of gold, grey and silver. And off course, there is the iconic red strip adorning all d’Arenberg wines.
Next, it was the high accolades this sparkling red has received in recent years along with a general curiosity about sparkling red wines, as said before.
Though most d’Arenberg wines are given bold and unusual names, Peppermint Paddock is not a fantasy name. Instead, it reflects its origin in the vineyard where the grapes are harvested from a block surrounded by peppermint gums. It is made mainly from Chambourcin grapes with a small addition of Graciano grapes.
In the bottle, the wine displays a deep red body, whilst when pouring the mousse and rim are turning into a vivid purple. The wine possesses an abundance of flavour, tannins, and acid. It comes with aromas of red wild berries along with a hint of Christmas spices.
Are you familiar with red sparkline wine? Do you have a favourite label?