To wrap up SW (Seppelt Week) here at AWR (Australian Wine Review) today’s final bout is easily the most skewed of the lot.
In the fashion of previous bouts, today we have pitched two similar wines from the Seppelt portfolio head to head in a fight to the death. Today, its sparkling reds turn, with two bubbly fighters from the range battling it out in a lopsided vinous battle for honour and glory.
So, in the very red & bubbly corner, is the Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2005, a stalwart of the range that has engaged hearts and minds for many years, particularly in the absence of the heavy hitting Seppelt Show Sparkling.
It’s up against it today however, with the other maroon red corner housing the new challenger to the throne, the Seppelt Silverband Sparkling Shiraz NV. Based on Grampians material of average age 6 years, this bottle is from the 2007 release & comes resplendent in the rather stylish and simple glory of a crown seal (well it looks good to me).
From the outset this is going to be a tough match for the Original to win, coming in a whole $10 lower in the RRP stakes and without even a regional designation for its fruit. Still, we love supporting the underdog and these two wines share alot: Similar alcohol (13%), similar colours and probably some similar base material. I’m not holding out much hope however….
Ding Ding! The fight begins. The first punches come from the nose of the Silverband, its aromatic licorice and earth characters smelling more mature yet simultaneously more complex and fresher than the cork sealed Original, which smells just a bit candied & dull, its rather stodgy punches not doing much for its image. The Silverband in particular smells much more like the aged Show Sparklings of yore, with that distinctive combination of redcurrant & licorice mixed with bottle aged Shiraz cedar.
Round two and the Original is looking shaky, that palate has a mushroomy funk that is neither appealing or impressive, the back end softening off to bland sweetness. It feels confected and simple, dull and barely worth its $20 price tag. In contrast, the Silverband is easily the best red wine of Seppelt Week (SW), to my tastes at least. I think it really benefits from its bottle age and its bubbles, softening the hard edges and giving that unique combination of tannins and sweet fizz that only splurgundy can do. The freshness imparted from its (perfect?) corwn seal no doubt helps. Its not hard to like that distinctive old leather & licorice seconday smell of older Aussie Shiraz, especially when coupled with well balanced dosage and sweet redcurrant fruit.
In the end then, this is a resounding win to the Silverband, which has shown the class of this wineries history with the capricious Splurgundy style. The Original just looks lifeless and overly commercial in comparison. The Silverband’s classy packaging more than justifies its increased price.
The scores? 15.5 & 17.8 respectively, though at the dinner table, the age factor of the Silverband would probably propel the score even higher.