House of Arras Rosé 2004 (Tasmania)
12.5%, Cork, $79
Sparkling rosé, whether from Champagne or elsewhere, is easily the most mercurial of ‘luxury’ wines, the style so hard to get right that even the finest makers (like Bollinger) seem to struggle to produce consistently balanced wines. That mercurial nature is only amplified by the fact that rosé is often more expensive than standard ‘white’ sparkling wine, making for some expensive dissapointments.
Unlike its older ‘white’ brother (the E.J.Carr), which more than stood up to a bracket of NV and vintage French fizz earlier in the year, this rosé doesn’t quite nail the brief, largely because the sweetness and acidity balance seems well off-kilter.
This starts correctly, all fragrant strawberry Pinot fruit and pink Wizz Fizz. There’s more of that sherbety action on the Jekyll & Hyde palate too, the wine starting really quite sweet, frothy and, well, pink, before Mr Hyde comes out with bone crunching grapefruit acidity to finish and dry up all the fun.
Ultimately we’ve then got a wine of two halves – a sweet entry and a dry finish, with no margin in between. Net result is a hard sparkling to love, which is a shame as beyond the abrupt sugar/acid imbalance this is very sophisticated sparkling, the winemaking and fruit otherwise of the highest calibre. You just know there is goodness here, real quality sparkling winemaking, yet it also feels hobbled (and I couldn’t really finish my glass).
Close, but not quite there. I’m leaving the score as somewhat generous as a nod to potential glory.
Score: 16.5/20 88/100
Would I buy it? No.
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