Tasmania Sparkles: Recent tastings confirm as much


Tasmania Sparkles: Two tastings confirm as much

Two of Tasmania’s best known wine brands are probably the best bets when you’re looking for a great sparkling wine experience. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise then that they’ve turned up beautiful wines with their more premium offerings in my recent tastings.

In the north of the state at Pipers River, Jansz Tasmania continues to turn out sparklings that achieve rave reviews. From the standard non-vintage offerings, Jansz continue their vintage Rose and Brut, while also taking it up a level with their ‘Late Disgorged’ and ‘Single Vineyard Chardonnay’ bottlings. Things have changed at Jansz in the last year or so. Former head winemaker Natalie Fryar has departed, and now leads the sparkling wine program at Pipers Brook/Kreglinger Wine Estates. 

Former Jansz winemaker Natalie Fryar now makes gin, while continuing to produce premium sparkling wines. Photo: Drinks Bulletin

She has also started a Tasmanian gin label 'Abel Gin' with business partner Kim Seagram (more info here). The winemaking at Jansz is overseen by vastly experienced winemaker Louisa Rose who has a long history of involvement with Tasmanian wine as well as South Australian wines under the Yalumba and Hill-Smith family wines (who also own Jansz and Tasmania’s Tolpuddle Vineyard). The 2010 Single Vineyard Chardonnay from Jansz is every bit as astounding as its 2008 predecessor, which took out a slew of fantastic reviews. Read mine here.

Louisa Rose, winemaker at Yalumba and Jansz. Photo: Randy Larcombe

In the south of the state, Frogmore Creek Vineyard has recently shed its ‘Evermore’ label in favour of a more descriptive ‘Frogmore Creek Cuvée Methode Traditionelle’. It now showcases more the winery name, and brings that branding into line with its other offerings. With the 2010 edition recently awarded 95 points by Australia’s sparkling wine guru Tyson Stelzer, I went back and tasted one of my all time favourite Tasmanian sparklings, the 2008 Cuvée Evermore by Frogmore Creek. I first tasted this wine at the 2014 Effervescence Sparkling Wine Festival at Josef Chromy in Tasmania’s north (read the review here). One of the few Tasmanian blanc de noirs offerings, this wine still astounded me. The wine was disgorged and released on a rolling basis, meaning this could have anywhere from three to four, or even five years on lees, followed by bottle time. From a sparkling season that is proving itself to be incredibly age-worthy, this wine was a reminder that in the best years, Tasmanian sparkling is highly competitive with its ancestors in France. Somehow, within the behemoth of winemaking that is Frogmore Creek, winemaker Alain Rousseau continues to churn out fascinating wines year after year.

Frogmore Creek Vineyard. Photo: Frogmore Creek

Frogmore Creek Cuvée Evermore 2008 – Tasted June 2017
Sparkling pale gold pink in the glass. It has a nose of strawberries, sautéed mushrooms and glazed frosted corn flakes. Vine and vine sap. Wood. Hints of English muffin toastiness. An incredible palate of strawberries, red berries, vine leaves, tangy acid which is still slicing through the fruit. The fruit has flattened a little and relaxed since I tasted it for the first time in 2014, and this is at the top of its life. If you own a bottle or more, drink now or leave for another year or two. Beams of red stained fruit, and hints of the bite of white flesh fruit fill the mouth even when you swallow the wine. A superb offering.
Rating:
Availability of this wine is now scarce, but I did find it at Just Wines.

Jansz Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 – Tasted June 2017
A wine that has garnered accolades the country over, including Best Australian Sparkling Wine for the Australian Wine Companion 2016 for the 2008 vintage. On the nose there are all possible forms of citrus and zest, creamy biscuit nose. Zingy fresh lime, brilliant poise and class. It is slung together by tight fruit balance. In the mouth this wine is sumptuously rich, unashamedly broad, chunky and fat. Incredible cream, biscuit and toast notes. A rich white wine, Burgundian in its body and Tasmanian at its core. Acidity, fruit and texture all tied together in the neatest most highly tuned sparkling you might find in Australian blanc de blancs. Cool climate with a nod to fuller bodied styles.
Rating:
Widely available as it is the current release of this wine. The best price I found was at Qantas Epiqure here.

All the best and happy drinking!
David


Banner image: Goodfood.com.au

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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at dbtaylor01@gmail.com. Good drinking to you! David

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