Arras Grand Vintage Sparkling 2003

I've always felt that Australia can produce wines that are capable of being competitive (in a blind tasting) with some of the varietal blends produced in the world's classic regions, and in the case of shiraz, semillon and riesling Australian regions produce classic styles in their own right.  The apparent exception to me has always been Champagne - I have almost always found that Australian sparklings are, at their best, pleasant but fall short or have non-classic flavours such as pronounced honeyed or herbal notes.  Excitingly (for me), Arras's sparkling wine does not fit that pattern, and is a singularly impressive wine, with a complex toast and citrus aroma, and a clean palate.  An interesting, well made wine that could be mistaken for a Champagne, and shows what Australian sparkling wines can achieve.  88 points.

Price: $56.99
Source: retail (Dan Murphy's)
Abv: 12.5%
Website: http://www.houseofarras.com.au/ (but has no content at the moment)

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