As global climate change and global warming has accelerated, it has coincided with consumer tastes re-orienting to wines with more balance and restraint. Far more so than during the Robert Parker-led era of hyped, body-builder wines. Cool climate wine regions of the world are (re-)emerging, as high alcohol, new oak, rich and concentrated monstrosity wines are today becoming the fashion-crime equivalent of shoulder pads and big hair. This is putting wind in the sails of cooler regions the world-over. From Oregon and Washington State in the US, to the Jura in France, East Sussex in England, Burgenland in Austria, Elgin and Hemel en Aarde in South Africa and The Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley in Victoria and Pipers River in Tasmania, forging reputations as leading examples of modern, balanced winemaking across the planet (whether these wine regions be ancient and over-looked or young, dynamic and on the rise).
As far back as the 1980’s, Champagne Houses were looking to sites in the new world, such as California, to spread their options beyond traditional Europe. In demonstration of tremendous foresight, Louis Roederer, without doubt one of the finest quality Houses in Champagne, located and purchased in 1986 a remarkable site in Tasmania in Pipers Brook, which had been planted a decade earlier, in 1975. It is located on the top Northern side of the Island, where climatic similarities between it and Champagne made it the most compelling site they had been able to find anywhere in the world during their search. Just over a decade later, in 1997, pioneer of the modern premium wine business in Australia, Robert Hill-Smith (owner of Australia’s oldest family-owner Winery Yalumba), acquired Jansz for his family portfolio of top estates. Almost a quarter of a century later, with pure focus on Methode Champenoise -or Methode Tasmenoise as Robert has labelled it- Jansz today has earned its stripes as the most highly regarded sparkling wine house in Australia.
Demonstrating his total faith in Tasmania as a new frontier in Australian premium, cool-climate wines, Robert subsequently also purchased a neighbouring estate, in 2007, and has since developed Dalrymple wines, specialising in Pinot Noir (the non-sparkling type !).
The name Jansz is in recognition of Tasmania’s European discoverer, the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, who first spotted the island in 1642. The original name of the estate was called after Abel Tasman’s ship, the Heemskerk.