A is for Arras

There is something truly wonderful about a good bottle of sparkling wine. Not so long ago, a few of the walkabout crew decided to put our cars on the boat and head to Tasmania for a couple of weeks to sample what we had been told by others in the know was the best sparkling wine you could find in Australia.

We were pleasantly surprised by the variety of wines grown in Tasmania. The average prices tended to be higher than we have found in other states, but the quality was definitely there. The quality of fresh produce (cherries were in season when we visited and we happened to drive past a grower offering farm-gate prices, much to our delight…). What really stood out though was the desert wines (iced Riesling at Botrytis Riesling) and the Sparkling wine.

Many of our favourites will not surprise lovers of Tasmanian wine: Piper’s Brook, Janz, Kreglinger, Bay of Fires and Ninth Island are really amazing wine producers. We also found some quite amazing smaller producers such as Bubble Duck that we loved, but one producer seemed to be just that bit further ahead of the curve than the others and that was House of Arras.

For those wishing to spoil themselves, the Late Disgorged range (RRP around $350 per bottle) is just magical, but for those on a budget or wishing to buy their wine by the case (we fall into both of these categories) we just couldn’t go past A by Arras NV Cuvee. Its not that we didn’t like other wines such as the Brut Elite; on the contrary, we really love the honey toast flavours that the yeast brings to these wines. It was the freshness and immense length of the A by Arras though that really stood out, before we noticed the price (RRP $30 per bottle at which price this is a super bargain).

It all starts with sight for us in the Walkabout crew and this wine is medium-gold and full of tiny bubbles. The nose is moderate – significantly weaker than the Late Disgorged premium wine, but a lot stronger than many sparkling wines. The tiny bubbles are incredibly refreshing in the palate which is actually quite complex for a NV sparkling wine. The length just seems to go forever and the balance through the finish is as close to perfect as a NV can probably get.

If you are looking for a “drink now” Australian sparkling wine that is very much in the Champagne style, this is well worth a try. We certainly loved it and plan to order more when our supplies of other sparkling wine create some cellar space…

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