House of Arras Grand Vintage 2008, Tasmania

65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir. 7 years on lees. 

Another data point for this wine, and it is showing as brilliantly as ever. Such a good vintage! The balance point between fruit – candied citrus and dried apple, lemon posset, creamy strawberry – and the ‘Arras’ hallmarks of salt/iodine/toffee/florals is just right. Focused, intense but elegant and full of refreshment. It plays on and on. 18 

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/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

House of Arras Grand Vintage 2007, Tasmania

78% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Noir. 7 years on lees.

An extra few years on cork has brought out the intensity of this wine, with some cooked lime and toffee apple showing over powerful candied grapefruit and dried peach. That lovely oyster/iodine sense of fresh air hangs around, tempering the richness here. A big character – the 08 steals the show, feeling tauter, shinier, and ultimately more engaging. Still this is a very fine sparkling wine. 17

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/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

House of Arras Ed Carr Late Disgorged 2004, Tasmania

13 years on lees. 69% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir.  DIsgorged mid 2020.

This is remarkable stuff. Previously I have sometimes found this a bit too intense with the leesy characters, but this is beautifully honed and harmonious today. I think it is a good idea to open it a bit early and let it settle.

The aura of ‘white’ flavours – sea salt/iodine/sourdough starter, salty white butter and truffle hangs over charred candied lemon and apricot/peach fruit. Beautiful citric freshness and just the right level of unctuosity on the palate. It doesn’t obscure the line, length or refreshment value. We’re not seeing the toffeed/caramelised notes of the Grand Vintages tasted alongside.

I would drink this within a couple of years of disgorgement. 18.5 

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/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

House of Arras Grand Vintage 2008

65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay in this vintage. Disgorged 2017. A Tasmanian classic.

This really was stunning, with everything counterbalanced perfectly.

Intense, heady charred and candied citrus next to a very distinctive creamy note like red berry fromage frais – such a well-defined leesy style here! – little touches of toffee round the edges and trademark briny, marine kind of edginess.

Posh tropical fruit patisserie hinting at delicious development now – whilst I wasn’t sure the 07 was one for ageing, the 08 seems tighter, better built. Yes there is breadth, but is so smooth and refined at heart. 18

/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

‘A’ By Arras. House of Arras, Tasmania

59% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 8% Pinot Meunier. Stainless steel and oak, 3 years on lees with 11g/l dosage.

Notes as written blind from The Big Blind Bargain Bubble Tasting.

This is curious. I can’t place it. At first it smells like detergent. Floral, aromatic, perfumed, possibly a little blowsy. But the palate is good – fresh, balanced. Dosage quite high. Intriguing, and I cannot work out what it is, even by elimination! 16

/ Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

Arras ‘A’ By Arras NV

‘A’ By Arras is the freshest, most direct wine in the portfolio, showing off vivid lime and grapefruit fruit alongside gentle dairy notes. At RRP of £19.99 this is a slightly edgier style than the Jansz entry level, but equally convincing.

16.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania

Arras Brut Elite 1501 NV, 2015 Base

Brut Elite 1501 is the current iteration of the mid-tier wine, and starts to show some real Arras character. Struck match and lime oil open up, whilst fenugreek spice and some nice wild buttery richness are thrown against a cleansing freshness on the palate. The marine, sea-spray sort of saltiness is here too. There is some real intensity of tropical fruit lurking, but this shows a quieter style than the vintage wine. Some may prefer it.

17.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2015 Base, Arras, Classic Blend, NV, Tasmania

Arras Grand Vintage 2008

The Grand Vintage 2008 definitely ramps up the intensity, with dried citrus and citrus oil meeting sourdough starter, oyster and quite an exotic richness of yellow fruits. There is baklava and sea salt, and some reductive complexity that almost threatens to become vegetal. Broad, quite saturated and finishing with a flourish of toffee. It’s hard not to break into a smile at this wine! The sweet spot in the portfolio is somewhere between the Brut Elite and here.

18

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2008, Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004

This is the Grand Vintage, kept back for over 10 years on lees. In this case I didn’t find the lees-ageing tones to be much more intense than in the 2008 Grand Vintage. Nor was it massively funky (although my taste was towards the end of the bottle, and some of the more funky tones can disappear over a few hours). There’s an almost crème fraîche-like richness of texture, with sea shells and white butter on sourdough. The fruit is bold and exotic, with charred grapefruit and mango, lime zest and a vein of sweet salted toffee and pith running through the finish. Positively outlandish, but fascinating stuff.

17.5

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2004, Arras, Classic Blend, Tasmania

Arras Rosé 2007

The Vintage Rosé 2007 is, as you would expect, a powerfully-styled interpretation with some meaty red fruits, salted butter and plenty of peppery spice. It feels a little angular compared to the other wines for now, with its grippy, linear palate and dryness.

17

Date Tasted : 23/01/2020

/ 2007, Arras, Rosé, Tasmania