Best Aussie sparkling wines for Christmas and NYE
A spectacular jump in the quality of Australian sparkling wine this year is good news for drinkers searching for bubbles for the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.
Leading the charge was Tasmania's House of Arras, which last week won the top sparkling wine award in a global competition conducted by prestigious Decanter magazine.
In doing so the House of Arras E.J. Carr Late Disgorged 2004 with 96 points jumped over Champagne Krug 2006 on 95.
"It's more than we dared to dream,'' said chief winemaker Ed Carr.
"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. We have done that."
However, he stressed winemaking was "not a horse race".
"Australian sparkling wines are not champagne, and never will be. And they will never be copies of champagne."
Mr Carr's "museum release" bubbles carry an eye-watering price tag of $399, but House of Arras has other award-winning bubbles like House of Arras Blanc de Blancs NV for $35.
Australia's internationally-recognised champagne writer and judge, Tyson Stelzer, recognised
Carr's world-beater earlier this year when he awarded the wine 97 points, a score he usually reserves for prestige champagne cuvees.
Mr Stelzer said some sparkling wines made in Australia this year run rings around many non-vintage champagne imports, and sell for much less.
Bargains abound for savvy buyers. I noticed a stylish Jacob Premium Cuvee 2017, $30, is selling at Dan Murphy's for $25.
It was made by leading winemaker Trina Smith.
A stunning local hero is Jansz Tasmanian Late Disgorged 2012, $56. Try also Deviation Road Adelaide Hills Loftia Vintage Brut 2017, $45.
And it wouldn't be Christmas without the sparkling red.
Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz, $18, and Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz, $20 are worthy buys.
Mr Stelzer's Sparkling Wine of the Year under $20 was Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2018.
Louis Roederer Cristal 2012, $475, described by James Halliday as "magnificent". He gave it 97 points.
In your dreams:
Krug Clos du Mesnil Brut Blanc de Blanc 2002, $500, described in the wine note of the year by Mr Stelzer as "blinding flash of white sunshine, of lemon freshness and white pepper, layered with molten wax, even glimpses of green olives."
Other wines "collapse breathless in its wake", he said.
Originally published as Best Aussie sparkling wines for Christmas and NYE