Bearded State Gippsland Sparkling Recently Disgorged 2005


Normally I don’t gush profusely about wines. But holy hell you need to try this. Recently disgorged after 12 years on lees means it a gorgeously developed, dare I say Champagne like drink.

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Normally I don’t gush profusely about wines. But holy hell you need to try this. Recently disgorged after 12 years on lees means it a gorgeously developed, dare I say Champagne-like drink. Grilled nuts, honey, toast, caramel with a superb richness on the palate. As you’d expect from a Recently Disgorged Fizz, there is still freshness with lemon acidity, citrus rind and floral notes. Drink it now with Comte, crayfish or whatever your favourite indulgence is. You don’t often get to drink mature Recently Disgorged wines like this. Let alone at this price.

Is it a place? A frame of mind? Attainable by the beardless? These are but some of the questions to ponder while enjoying these wines. Curated and sometimes blended by The Wine Depository owner Philip Smith. Whatever your facial hair situation you are guaranteed to get a wine that offers value and flavour well beyond compare.


Gippsland is a big place. If you’ve ever driven from Melbourne to Leongatha or Bairnsdale you’ll have seen how far it stretches. In fact, the landmass of Belgium would fit within the footprint of Gippsland. Therefore, to generalise would be folly. Some amazing wines come from Gippsland though. Mainly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sparkling wine and more elegant styles of Cabernet/Merlot and Shiraz. There are many great producers there, such as Bass Phillip and Nicholson River. And now there are many newer producers experimenting and building new reputations.

Pinot Noir

This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.


The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation. In a Champagne context, Chard can add mineral flavours, stone fruits and acidity along with some weight of fruit.

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