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Food and beverage stories

Arras sparkles on world stage

Edition 200_EdCarr

Tasmania’s sparkling wines glittered in London, when House of Arras winemaker, Ed Carr, was bestowed with one of the most prestigious international honours.

Carr joined his peers from the great champagne houses of France, as he received a lifetime achievement award, at last month’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.

He was the only ‘non-champenois’ wine-maker to be gifted with the accolade. All other eight recipients represented France’s top champagnes, including Dom Perignon and Charles Heidsieck.

“I am overwhelmed,” Carr told us just days after returning from London.

“To be included amongst such impressive company is unbelievable, and further recognition of the world-class quality of the House of Arras.

“But it also shows just how far Australian, and in particular Tasmanian wines, have come over the past 20 years.

“And the roll-on from this will be wonderful as we lead our charge into the future.”

Carr is Australia’s most awarded sparkling winemaker.

View video of Ed Carr talking about the House of Arras.

Video Still Ed Carr
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Dating back to 1995, the House of Arras has garnered more accolades than any other Australian sparkling wine.

At last count this totalled 86 trophies, 225 gold medals, and the distinction of being crowned ‘Best Sparkling’ at every capital city wine show last year.

The beautiful bubbly sits at the premium end of the market, and while prices start at $45 a bottle, expect to pay around $200 for one of the top drops.

So, what is it that makes the House of Arras so special?

Carr reveals there are three critical factors: the winemaking style; the extensive maturation period, which ranges from four to 10+ years; and, the fruit.

House of Arras sparkling wines are made exclusively from premium Tasmanian grapes – a mix of chardonnay, pinot noir, and meunier varieties.

And, the result is something to celebrate.

“Our sparkling wine has a lot of style and flavour, and is driven by age,” Carr explains.

“It is complex and rich, but it is also very vibrant and fresh, and if you can get all that in a glass then you are up there with the best in the world.”

Tasmania’s sparkling wines have been lauded across the globe.

Earlier this year, influential critic, Tyson Stelzer, declared: “Right now, the greatest sparkling wine on earth, outside of Champagne, comes from Tasmania.”

And, according to Carr, that is pretty much on the money.

“Yes, that was the general feeling from everyone that I spoke to in London," he said.

“Of course there is a lot of variability between Tasmania’s sparkling wines and champagne. For starters, our sparkling wines are 20 years young, while the champagne houses have long illustrious histories.

“However, Tasmania is now producing its own distinct style, and that is giving us global parity and wonderful global recognition.

“Where it will take us into the future, we just don’t know.

“But what is important is that Tasmania’s sparkling winemakers continue to carve out their own niche in the market.”

Footnote: Lovers of Tasmanian bubbles are in for a treat this month. Just as the festive season begins to gear up, Effervescence Tasmania showcases the state’s premium sparkling wines, with all the action heading north to Launceston this weekend.  The popular festival is expected to attract huge crowds with tastings and events, such as masterclasses, and the Bubbles & Beats After Party.

Image courtesy of Dominic Loneragan

9 November 2018, Edition 200

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