Sparkling wine is widely considered a celebratory libation. Unfortunately, these do not feel like celebratory times. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic we’re staying home, only venturing out to walk in our neighborhood or shop for items we cannot order online. These are stressful times and, I would argue, the exact time when a glass of sparkling wine is needed to lift one’s spirits. Today we’re sipping a sparkling wines from Tasmania, which we received as a tasting sample, that brightened our day considerably.
If you’ve not tasted Tasmanian sparkling wine, Jansz is the perfect place to start. Jansz Tasmania is the first sparkling wine made in this gorgeous Australian island state using the traditional method. Tasmania is named for Abel Janszoon Tasman, the Dutch explorer who first sighted the the island in 1642 and also where Jansz takes its name.
The Jansz vineyard was established in 1975 in the northeast part of Tasmania and named Heemskerk vineyard after one of Tasman’s ships. In 1986 Louis Roederer partnered with the owners of Heemskerk Wines to make Tasmania’s first premium sparkling wine.
In 1997 the Hill-Smith family purchased Heemskerk and have continued to build the reputation of Jansz sparking wines.
Jansz Tasmania sits in the Pipers River region of the island close to Bass Strait, the sea strait that separates the island from the Australian mainland. The region is cool thanks to breezes off the ocean that help moderate very cold temperatures in winter. The breezes limit frost in spring and during summer these same breezes create a long and cool growing season that allows the grapes to develop complex flavors while maintaining good acidity. This part of Tasmania is informally known as Sparkling Tasmania.
Jansz Tasmania was just named Northern Tasmania’s ‘Best Large Cellar Door’ in Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine‘s 2020 Best Cellar Door Awards. Congratulations!
Jansz NV Premium Cuvée, Tasmania — pale yellow in the glass with generous bubbles. Aromas of pears, citrus and toast are followed by fruity flavors of citrus and melon with background notes of toasted almonds. Acidity is bright and the finish is medium in length and clean. Abv. 12%, SRP $30
This sparkling wine is light and bright with plenty of flavor and acidity. It’s just as well suited to appetizers as it is sipping on its own or pairing with a meal. Along with the low alcohol level, versatility is one of the things I appreciate most about sparkling wines. They’re delicious on their own and pair with lots of meals. Basically, pair this sparkling wine with anything you’d enjoy eating with an unoaked (or lightly oaked) Chardonnay.
This Cuvée is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir sourced from Pipers River and Tamar Valley in the north of Tasmania and the Coal River Valley in the south. Each lot of still wine was vinified separately, blended and bottled. In the bottle is where the second fermentation happens resulting in those lovely bubbles. The wine ages for 24 months in bottle.
Jansz NV Premium Rosé, Tasmania — pale rose in the glass with generous bubbles and bright berry aromas. Flavors follow the aromas with berries and citrus, nice acidity and a clean finish. 12% abv. SRP $30.
If you feel like sipping something pink choose this Jansz sparkler, made from similar vineyard sites using the same methods, but from a different blend: 78% Pinot Noir, 22% Chardonnay.
Don’t let the $30 SRP dissuade you from trying these sparklers, chances are you will find them for much less. That has always been my experience.
Thanks to Winebow for this taste of Tasmanian sparkling wine. It made my day.