75cl * Vegetarian * 14.0% ABV * Barossa Valley, Australia
It is widely thought that without Peter Lehmann, the Barossa would have lost a large swathe of its old vines. The original Baron of the Barossa and a legend of Australian wine, he helped shape the industry over seven decades after starting his own winery in in 1979. This was partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa and farmers that didn't know what to do with them.
Grown in premium vineyards in the Moppa and Light Pass districts, the grapes were fermented on their skins for a week to 10-days, pressed, clarified and then matured for 12 months in French oak hogsheads. The base wine was then bottle-fermented and aged on its lees for five years. Last but not least, a small percentage of fortified Shiraz was added to build complexity and add natural sweetness before release, resulting in an explosion of flavour balanced by complexity from bottle age.
Intensely flavoured Shiraz grapes from old, low-yielding vines create this wine inspired by the ground-breaking ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ of the 1950s – one of Australia’s unique contributions to the wine world. Named after the Queen of Sheba, 'Black Queen' is bright red with a dense black core. The aroma is abundant with Christmas cake and mulberries, leading to an explosion of dark exotic fruits, chocolate, hints of spice and creaminess on the palate and, quintessential for what Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz is known for, a gentle mousse.
Pair with roast ham and turkey at Christmas, fried breakfast, charcuterie. Best enjoyed now, however, will comfortably develop further in the cellar for a further 5-10 years.
"While many view the Sparkling Shiraz class as somewhat amusing and quaintly Australian, there is a minute but steadily growing band of revellers who rather fancy shaking up their palates with finely-crafted and indulgent wines like this one. Unlike inexpensive versions that tend to load sugar on board to compensate for the lack of integrity in their raw materials, this wine is bone dry and remarkably adroit. With coffee bean, raucous plum, pipe smoke, fresh tar, bitter dark chocolate and plump damson notes, this is an exceptionally regal Queen with immense joy in every sip. There is so much fun to be had with Indian food, and black bean dishes go gaga in moments, but the barbecue repertoire is immense, particularly if you love decadent marinades and loads of spice. Lehmann’s Black Queen is always impressive, but this vintage has huge impact and energy and looks more composed and integrated than ever." Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines 2022/23 Report