One of the single biggest growth hurdles that Tasmanian wine faces is a lack of wineries.
I’m not talking about a shortfall of producers – Tassie has a whole smorgasbord of vineyards and makers. But there is a distinct lack of physical grape processing facilities. In fact, outside of Tas Vintners (which fell into administration just two years ago), the situation is so challenging that grapes (or must) are shipped to the mainland for fermentation/maturation.
That’s obviously a poor outcome for Tassie wine on so many levels. It’s expensive, takes at least a day of truck transit time and can negatively influence wine quality.
Thankfully the situation is (slowly) changing. There are now several new winery projects kicking off in Tasmania (including Pete Dredge’s promising new one near the airport in Hobart), and Tas Vintners are back on the up thanks to new owners Fogarty family + Tasmanian businessman Rod Roberts.
Meanwhile, across the water in the Coal River Valley, Jansz is finally getting a Tasmanian winery home. On the site of the old Frogmore Creek vineyard (now Jansz’s Parish Vineyard) near Richmond, the Hill-Smith family have finished building a swank new facility with architect 6ty°, coined the Pontos Hil Winery.
This new winery is a monumental move for Jansz, as historically, grapes destined for the brand were largely shipped back to Yalumba in Angaston. There’s even an onsite cave in full Champagne homage.
All of the Jansz fruit processed on-site from vintage 2022. Before that kicks off, Jansz has released just 1986 bottles (Jansz was founded in 1986) of a special Jansz Tasmania Pontos Hills Vintage Cuvee 2017 that turned up on my doorstep as a little taster of what’s to come.
This is a quality celebratory fizz too. A field blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier sourced from the block around the winery, with the wine then matured for 33 months on lees. It’s a light, breezy thing that I initially wrote off as too delicate – a ‘white paint on a white wall’ sort of wine.
But that delicacy grows on you. The fine palate is driven by apple citrus. It’s a filigreed wine – appley, primary, defined. A little too lean and light to be sublime, but pretty, classy and most importantly, proudly Tasmanian.
In fact, the only real downer here is my terrible photography. Come here for the words, stay for the brilliant photos…
Jansz Tasmania Pontos Hills Vintage Cuvee 2017 – $50 at the cellar door or the Jansz website. 12% alcohol. 18/20, 93/100. Best drinking: now, but no hurry. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle for sure.