CHAMPAGNE FRIDAY (Well, Almost) – JANSZ Brut, Tasmania, NV

So this is almost Champagne Friday. Almost because it was Friday when I tasted the wine but it is now the wee hours of Saturday as I finish this post. And almost because the wine is sparkling wine from Tasmania rather than Champagne (but it might take a really good Master of Wine to figure that out in a blind tasting). Here’s the deal: I didn’t have a late Friday appointment in my office this week (the normal source for Champagne Friday), and I was quite late at the office. So to make it up to the lovely Miss Carol, we took a bottle of JANSZ Brut NV and a bottle of Girard Artistry 2008 (which I will most likely get to in another post) and went to La Vista (one of our favorite BYOBs) . Jansz is one of my very favorite non-Champagne bubblies. The winery is owned by the Hill Smith family who also own Yalamba. The winemaker, Natalie Fryar (that’s her in the picture), has been there since 2001 and before that she had five years of sparkling winemaking experience at Seppelt’s Great Western. As Tasmania – surrounded as it is by cold water – has one of the coolest climates of any new world wine region, it is ideal for growing sparkling wine grapes.  I should probably mention that my friends David Maib of Negoçiants USA and Jane Ferrari who is the “traveling winemaker” for Yalumba are the ones who, some years back, introduced me to Jansz. Back to the present: While waiting for a table, we popped the Jansz. Not long after we said “Cheers.”, Miss Carol said “Yum!” That should do it but I will nevertheless offer my more detailed note below. Perhaps I should also mention that we drank the Jansz out of Riedel “Grand Cru Riesling” glasses which are rapidly becoming a favorite for richer sparkling wines.

JANSZ Brut, Tasmania, NV
Tech Note: 12% Alc. A methode champenoise blend of 58% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 2% Pinot Meunier aged two years en tirage (on the yeasts) before disgorgement and finishing.     Sensory Note: Pale green straw in color and fully sparkling with a nice bead even in the larger Riedel glasses. Plenty of fizz. The yeast-and-fruit nose was evident even as I was pouring the wine. In the glass, I found yeast and toast notes along with citrus and floral as well as a bit of red fruit. There is even a Champagne-like mineral component along with enough richness to make this work well with food. (I continued to sip it after we were seated with some of La Vista’s excellent mussels.) It is crisp and fresh with a fine balance and very long finish.     Bear Note: Delicious. I think Carol has a slight preference for the Jansz Rosé but I find them both to be excellent. And I think this was better with the mussels than the Rosé would have been. BS: 92+. ($20.00)