Fox Creek Vixen Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet Franc NV (McLaren Vale, SA)
$25, Cork, 13.5%
Ahhh Sparkling red. Every time I come back to Sparkling reds, its like bumping into an old, great mate. A mate that is uniquely Australian, matches with nearly any food type, will live and mature in the bottle for decades and looks fantastic in the glass. To further sweeten the deal, few will cost you much dough either. Particularly this one.
(For reference, this had a ‘NV14’ printed on the back label – any relevance?)
Deep Purple/Mahogany red in colour with those beautiful maroon/purple bubbles. Super dense colour. The nose has tarry, rich, plum & fruit cake, typically Mclaren Vale Shiraz characters with just a hint of menthol and bottle age, which follows through onto a quite tannic palate, the sticky tannins coating your gums and feeling more glycerous than anything else. Initially the palate is full and sweet, with a big flow of obvious generous sweetness, however the mid palate rings hollow, dry and slightly astringent, which clashes somewhat with the sweet front end. Its probably not enough to derail the package, but its a distraction nonetheless. The sticky tannins linger long after the hollowness is gone however, redeeming the wine to a certain degree.
In the end this is a sweet and generous entry level sparkling that is good value and distinctively regionaljust a little harsh to be truly convincing. A Vixen with rough edges? 16.6