Sunday, November 29, 2009


 - Clare Valley, SA
 - $47-$63
 - Cork
 - 14.0%alc

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.
93 points


  1. The main question remains now - what will happen to this wine, now that the winery has turned its lights off, with the finest of its great Clare vineyards sold from underneath it....

  2. A very good point AG, especially considering how well most of Leasingham's range has delivered lately. The future remains uncertain without doubt. This truly is one of the saddest stories in Australian wine.

  3. I contacted Tim Adams, which purchased the Leasingham vineyards and winery, but not the label to ask whether they would continue to make the sparkling. They unfortunately said that they were not planning to.

    I think I have sampled most Australian sparkling reds, including more expensive ones, and Leasingham consistently comes out on top. Your right on the corks though, I hope they last the distance.