When it comes to shopping for festive bubbles, consumers tend to automatically reach for French labels. But Australian sparkling wine has really come into its own in recent years, shedding its reputation as being a second-best alternative to Champagne.
Its quality was confirmed last week when Tasmania’s House of Arras was named No.1 sparkling in the Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of 2020 for its E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004.
The wine, which retails for $265.95, was awarded an Outstanding Classification with an impressive 96 points by the fine wine judging panel, chosen above sparkling wines from around the world, ahead of Champagne Krug 2006.
The Decanter Magazine Top 100 wines of the year are judged by some of the most revered wine experts from around the world. The wines that make this list every year are subject to a rigorous tasting process in order to crown the winners.
House of Arras Chief Winemaker Ed Carr said: “It’s an absolute honour to have the E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 judged alongside some of the best sparkling wines from across the globe.
“House of Arras was born from a vision to create an Australian sparkling wine on parity with the world’s finest champagnes and sparkling wines. Today’s Decanter Magazine announcement reinforces this vision and is proof that the world’s best sparkling can be found right here in Tasmania.”
House of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 is made from the noble grape varieties of prestige sparkling wine, sourced from exceptional cold climate Tasmanian vineyards. A mix of 69% Chardonnay and 31% Pinot Noir, this wine has spent 13 years on tirage.
The Thirsty Travellers met with Carr (above) a few years back, when we were lucky enough to be given a one-on-one tasting experience – including the glorious E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 – with the winemaker.
The wine had an exceptionally fine bead and exhibits characters of honey, nougat and sourdough toast.
Carr said Australians are becoming increasingly appreciative of how well Australian sparkling stacks up against Champagne.
“Ever year you see more acceptance,” he said. “Sparkling wine is perhaps a little harder to understand than still wine, so consumers will often focus on brand and choose a Champagne with a familiar label.
“You just need to get them to taste a great Australian sparkling and they’re converts.”
While the E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 is undeniably delicious, the winemaker also produces excellent sparkling wines with more affordable price tags. House of Arras ‘A By Arras’ is a Thirsty Travellers favourite and retails for around $25 a bottle.