Tasted - House of Arras Brut Elite 1301, Tasmania

Brut Elite - a huge level of interest for an entry-level wine.

English-born winemaker Ed Carr was truly a frontiersman when Arras produced its first wines from the 1995 vintage. It wasn't until the 1998 vintage that Arras was an all-Tasmanian brand though -  up until that point, Tasmanian grapes for sparkling wine tended to be blended with grapes from the mainland. With Arras, Carr's belief in Tassie's potential for fresh, long-lived Traditional Method wines was proven to be well-founded, with the wines reaching international prominence over the last 10 years.

Arras don't own vineyards, but source fruit widely across the island. Partial oak-ageing, expressive lees-ageing characters and reductive flashes are the hallmarks of real flair in the cellar - this cuvée offers a scarcely-credible amount of style given it can be bought for just £17.95. I'll add some notes on other Arras wines in the future.

House Of Arras Brut Elite 1301

57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay. Based on the 2013 vintage, with a small percentage (less than 10%) aged in barrel. Oyster shell, sea salt and sourdough frames the whole nose - a small vegetal note lurks, but dissipates. The balance starts to appear 20 minutes after opening, with those reductive characters falling into line really nicely. The fruit is yellow with fresh, bright lemon and yellow grapefruit, before milky papaya sweetness and some fresh red berries pop up very attractively. Intriguing touches of kiwi, jasmine and dried ginger give some lovely colour to the whole picture.

On the palate cool, creamy yellow fruits precede a full, almost blowsy creaminess to the mid-palate before grapefruit pith grip and spice close out quite cleanly. Quite distinctive winemaking here! There's a lot of flavour interest riding on fairly humble, light bones in terms of line and length, but who can complain; at the price this is remarkable. 88/100

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