We have always been drawn to sparkling Shiraz wines, though in the past they have never quite met our expectations. However, the Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz, $18, is a winner. The tricky part with bubbly red wine is balancing the tannins with the carbonation and the acid. The three together can be very hard on the palate because the carbonation enhances the astringency and bitterness of the wine phenolics. Other sparkling Shiraz we have tried have had an overly bitter finish. The Wyndham Estate, in contrast, is very nicely balanced, with typical Shiraz fruitiness and some orange rind flavors (but not too bitter). The bubbles themselves might be ever so slightly out of whack--the wine goes into the glass with froth more than effervescence, and the sparkle faded more quickly than we would have liked, but this is a minor complaint.
We enjoyed the wine with an Indian-inspired dinner of spicy chickpeas, sauteed broccoli, and coconut rice. The wine worked beautifully with this meal, which would have proved challenging to most wine pairings. This is a great wine for holiday gatherings, and its weight, balance, and flavors allow it to work as an aperitif, with hors d'ouevres, with a meal, or even with dessert.