Jansz of Tasmania was one of the early exponents of sparkling wines on the island, founded in 1986, and today owned by the Hill-Smith family, also owners of Yalumba in the Eden Valley of South Australia.
Tasmania is widely viewed as one of the most exciting Australian regions for genuinely cool climate varieties, catching the attention of many winemakers and established ‘mainland’ producers who are making wines and sourcing fruit from the island. There is a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for both still and sparkling wines, with Riesling and other aromatic varieties also key strengths of this mountainous island.
40% of Tasmania’s wine output is traditional method fizz, made from the principle grapes of Champagne. Jansz farms in two distinct areas, Piper’s Brook in the Tamar Valley in the north, where the Tamar River and Bass Straight act to moderate temperatures. Jansz farms 100 hectares of vines here, on red, free-draining basalt soils. Their second location is way down south in Coal River close to Hobart. It has a temperate climate with mild to warm summers and cold winters, and rich alluvial soils. Another 40 hectares are farmed here, again dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Jansz describes its wines as being made by the ‘Méthode Tasmanoise’, a perhaps slightly too contrived way of saying all of its wines are made by the traditional method with secondary fermentation in bottle and long ageing on the lees before disgorgement.
(2022) Partial fermentation in oak barrels for this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which spent a full four years on the lees (disgorged January 2020). It has 5g/l of dosage. Pale gold in colour, there's so much biscuit and a light almond sheen of nuttiness, a little salty, briney freshness and good, zesty citrus aromas. In the mouth a very satisfying vintage cuvée, despite the low dosage it is filled with ripe and succulent fruit, but the delicate nuttiness, earthiness and that saline character does not falter, the fruit sweetness balanced by a very fine line of acidity.
(2021) Made from 100% Pinot Noir, this cuvée spent two years on the lees and has a dosage of 6.3g/l. It was disgorged on 6th August 2020. Very fine, pale peachy-pink, with small and moderately persistent bubbles, the nose offers plenty of summer-pudding fruits, almond creaminess but a nice tensioning element of bracken and briar. In the mouth lots of tart but also sweet raspberry and redcurrant, but the long lees-ageing adds a light biscuity layer beneath, and the acidity keeps it fresh and focused, dry but elegant on the finish.
(2022) Blending 55% Chardonnay with Pinot Noir, this has 4g/l of dosage and spent eight years on the lees, disgorged 15th June 2020. In years of exceptional quality some of the vintage is held back, for that extra ageing and late disgorging. What an exquisite wine it is, having spent 2,471 days in Jansz' cellars, part fermented in barrel for seven months. The nose is sumptuous, blending hazelnut and vanilla tuilles with ripe peach and pear, a touch of fresh, earthy mushroom and suggesting terrific depth to come. On the palate the creamy mousse gives way to very sharply-defined citrus, that backing of a more earthy, yeasty meatiness, then dating acidity to finish.
(2022) Rarely produced, the single vineyard Chardonnay represents excellent vintages and is made in very small volumes - 2,772 bottles in this vintage. With a dosage of 4g/l and spending three years on the lees, it was disgorged on 27th February 2019. Pale straw/gold with streaming bubbles, lightly buttery pastry notes, small floral nuances and creamy, waxy lemon fruit. The palate is crisp, very fresh and zippy, but then the creaminess of the lees ageing and quite grippy combination of acidity and texture gives weight and depth.