Alex's sparkling wine selection 

Sparkling wine is not only for celebrations, says Aria sommelier Alex Kirkwood, who thinks we should feel comfortable popping the cork on a bottle of bubbles at any time of the meal or the day. He shares some insights and recommendations on sparkling wines to drink this summer. 


Is it only for celebrations?

No. The stigma of sparkling only for celebrations is improving. Considering the diversity of styles now, especially locally, guests are more open to the thought of drinking bubbles throughout the meal.


Red, white or pink?

For me, it’s definitely white in terms of quality. While we are starting to see some better rosé styles in Australia, we are still a long shot off matching white sparkling for a complete wine. The acid precision, flavour length and elegance of the whites we are now seeing is remarkable and worthy of serious international attention.


Local favourites?

Locally I love the wines made by Cathy Gairn at Courabyra in Tumbarumba. Courabyra’s 2001 805 Late Disgorged Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier will always be a favourite. What Kate Laurie is doing at Deviation Road in the Adelaide Hills is nothing short of spectacular. Other recent favourites have included the 2011 Gembrook Hill Blanc de Blancs from the Yarra Valley. In New Zealand, Rudi Bauer from Quartz Reef in Central Otago is bit of a rock star and his wines are worth a look if you can get your hands on them.


When you choose Champagne what drives that choice?

Mood, time of day, company, food, music - so many things. We are rather lucky when it comes to Champagne in Australia; because of our love of the region we actually see a large percentage of the best producers out here. While we have always had good interest in the larger names it is great to see so many smaller producers now available on our shores. 


What sparkling wines feature on the wine list at Aria?   

We always pour three or four different styles by the glass and always have more than 100 by the bottle on the list. This allows us room to move, and offer something for everyone. Champagne with cheese before dessert is always a favourite of ours at Aria.


Let Alex his team of expert sommeliers guide you through our extensive wine list by making a reservation at Aria today.