For my last post of 2019, I’m going to be finishing with the House of Arras collection, tasted in the company of the great Ed Carr himself.
Ed states that he is “definitely looking for a house style” across the range. Keeping 10% of the base wines in young oak and only some malolactic fermentation. He seeks “richness and depth,” aiming for complexity through lees aging. All of these wines are age-worthy while maintaining brightness and freshness throughout their longevity. Ed is still building confidence in his winemaking choices by seeing the wines as they progress.
This was a true highlight to taste the wines and discuss them with one of the world’s greatest sparkling winemakers, who for all his accolades, remains quietly spoken and engaged.
House of Arras, Brut Elite, NV
Sourced from the Derwent Valley, Pipers River, Coal River and East Coast areas of Tasmania. The Meunier clone was originally sourced from the Yarra Valley and now all is the clone used for all new plantings. This blend is 49% Pinot Noir, 42% Chardonnay and 9% Pinot Meunier. 4 years tirage and less than 6 grams p/l residual sugar.
Stonefruit and almost mandarin citrus with slightly bready/crisp undertone, struck flinty note. Crisp red fruit folding into a just creamy texture. Holds decent grip and length. Trademark house style with briny/salty tail.
RRP: $60.99 Rating: 18/20
House of Arras, Rosé, 2009
Fruit from the Derwent, Huon and Tamar Valleys. 69.5% Pinot Noir and 30.5% Chardonnay. 9 years tirage and 7 grams p/l residual sugar.
Onion skin blush. Musk and rose, red fruit dominant with almost singed orange rind citrus and lychee. Some maturing characters just slightly noticeable with a faint meatiness. Strawberry and peachy stonefruit, light musk on the palate. Trademark salty lick. Complex and layered, acid is absolutely singing.
RRP: $106.99 Rating: 19.25/20
House of Arras, Grand Vintage, 2008
Sourced from the Derwent Valley, Coal River and East Coast. 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. 9 years tirage and 6 grams p/l residual sugar.
Maturing with complexity but maintains lift through bright red fruits crispness and biscuity, waxy honeyed layers. There’s a easy yeasty coda that enwraps the sharp tail which seems to curl on and on. The persisting shadow of the flinty/briny house style.
RRP: $98.99 Rating: 19/20
House of Arras, Grand Vintage, 2007
Served from a Magnum. Fruit from Pipers River and Derwent and Coal River Valleys. 23% Pinot Noir and 77% Chardonnay. 9 years tirage and 6 grams p/l residual sugar.
A golden hue. Maturing with richer citrus notes while maintaining a chalky grip and zinging acidity. The layers fold in with chardonnay creamyness, over and over again. Soda bread yeast/lees qualities and with eucalytpus honeyed elements. Shows no sign of slowing down, even from a warmer year.
RRP: $249.99 Rating: 18.75/20
House of Arras, Blanc de Blancs, 2009
Fruit from the Derwent and Coal River Valleys and Freycinet (East Coast). 100% Chardonnay and 9 years tirage.
Lemon curd, citrus dominant and fallen leaf earthiness. Betwixt and between: maturing complexity with pure singing vibrant mezzo-alto acidity. Chicken Twisties/chicken crisps showing the house briny house style with a slightly grainy dry finish.
RRP: $106.99 Rating: 19/20
House of Arras, EJ Carr, Late Disgorged, 2004
Fruit from the Derwent and Coal River Valleys and Freycinet (East Coast). 34% Pinot Noir and 66% Chardonnay. 3 years tirage and 6 grams p/l residual sugar.
Disgorged in 2018. Almost crystal clear. Incredibly primary on the nose: subtle citrus and still showing signs of reduction with a signature gun flint strike. Maturing earthiness, with almost mushroom/truffle qualities before richness of deeper citrus. Length and length and length. Sensual, seamless.
RRP: $230.99 Rating: 19.5/20