Tasmanian fizz: Effervescence & House of Arras Grand Vintage 2008

Summer loving – House of Arras Grand Vintage 2009

When I visited Tasmania last November, I just missed Effervescence, Tasmania’s sparkling wine festival.  This week, I received a press release about the fourth festival – it returns on 16-19 November 2017.  Like last year, I won’t be going but, instead, will console myself with a snif[f]ter of one of my favourite Australian fizzes, House of Arras Grand Vintage.  I tasted the multi-award winning 2007 during a catch up with Bay of Fires’ team last year (my notes here).  And just received a sample of the follow up 2008.  Another cracker.  

You’ll find my tasting note below, followed by details about Effervescence Tasmania, just in case it’s on your radar this November.  In other news, it was announced this week that Jim Chatto will continue in his role as Chief Winemaker at Mount Pleasant, Hunter Valley whilst spinning more Tasmanian plates.  In addition to his own Huon Valley Chatto Wines’ label, he will oversee Kreglinger Estate’s portfolio, which includes one of the island’s top sparkling wines.   You can find out more about this here.

House of Arras Grand Vintage 2008 (Tasmania)

This substantial, complex, but terrifically well-focused fizz is sourced from Freycinet on the East Coast and Derwent Valley and Coal River Valley in South Tasmania.  It comprises a blend of Chardonnay (65%) and Pinot Noir (35%) and, after 100% malo, was aged for several years on lees before disgorging. Whilst the 2007 struck me with its fruit power (pure lemon posset), the 2008 is a cooler customer.  When I popped the cork, brioche notes hung deliciously in the air but, in the mouth, the attack is pure grapefruit, with sea spray and oyster mushroom; notes which pointedly reprise on and characterise the finish. Creamy, savoury lees notes build in the mouth, making for a supple mouthfeel, really textural, with hints of strawberry ice-cream, incipient brazil nut, lime pith and nougat.  Long, very persistent with biscuity drive (fine bead) and a drier finish than my notes might suggest.   Mineral even.  A super-classy combination of complexity and drinkability.  12.5% House of Arras is imported into the UK by Liberty Wines.  The 2007 currently retails at Oz Wines for £33.99.

Effervescence Tasmania

When: Over the weekend of 16-19 November

Where: At Josef Chromy , Tamar Valley, North Tasmania.

What: Tasmania’s great sparkling houses will be presented, sampled and sold over the weekend – Josef Chromy, Clover Hill, Jansz, Arras, Stefano Lubiana, Freycinet, Pirie Tasmania, Delamere, Moorilla, Ghost Rock, Frogmore Creek, Spring Vale, Apogee, Pipers Brook and emerging sparkling producers (TBA).

Food and wine pairing will be the focus of masterclasses with Bruny Island Cheese and Huon Aquaculture. Intimate ‘Ferment’ sessions will have guests up close and personal with Tasmanian sparkling winemakers to ask questions and share stories. Art of Sparkling tours will offer entry into the Josef Chromy winery to see sparkling wine being disgorged and blended.

Tyson Stelzer, Australia’s pre-eminent authority on sparkling wine (and author of The Champagne Guide) will deliver his definitive Tasmanian Sparkling Masterclass and, in a first, a second masterclass focusing on Tasmanian sparkling wine within the global context.

On Sunday, options include brunch with Jansz’s Louisa Rose, visits with accomplished sparkling producers in the Pipers River region of northern Tasmania and a Degustation Lunch at Josef Chromy Wines presented by acclaimed Chef Jacques Reymond.

Click here for full details.

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