The red centrepiece of Australian fizz master Ed Carr's collection is the Leasingham Clasic Clare Sparkling Shiraz. After outstanding releases from the 1996 (94pts), 1997 (93pts) and 1998 (95pts) vintages, no wine was made until 2002. With such fine selection processes in place and Ed Carr at the helm, it's little wonder I consider it Australia's best vintage dated sparkling red.
Drawing its fruit from the acclaimed Schobers and Provis vineyards, the 2002 Classic Clare is richly fruited with vivid, heady scents of liqueur cassis, redcurrant, blueberry and smoky game meats sitting alongside notes of vanilla/chocolate oak and cinnamon. Absurdly rich and palate staining, it's sinister and dark yet intensely vibrant, with a concentrated, liqueur-like expression of small berry fruit, chocolate and menthol flavours extending towards a persistent sweet/sourness offset by lingering dryness. There's a very firm whack of astringent tannins for what's nearly an 8 year old wine, suggesting it hasn't even reached the halfway point of its development.
ü A rather extravagant, hedonistic sparkling red which is deceptively young, brash and intense. It's just begging for another 10 years to encourage further depth, integration and savoury complexity (I must concur it was a fairly stained cork though). Drink to 2020.