Tasmanian Sparkling Wines

19th October 2023

Green Grapes

When it comes to sparkling wines, regions like Champagne, Prosecco, and California often steal the limelight. But tucked away in the southern hemisphere, an unexpected contender is rapidly rising to prominence – Tasmanian sparkling wines. This small island state of Australia has been quietly crafting some of the world’s most exquisite sparkling, earning awards and a cult following among wine lovers. In this article, I am going to delve into why these sparkling wines are trail blazing the wine industry.

Tasmania’s unique geographical features contribute significantly to the quality of its sparkling wines. Cool climate conditions, clean air, and the ideal latitude (around 42 degrees south) create an environment that’s perfect for growing the classic grape varieties used in sparkling wine production: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Riesling and other white varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer can also be grown and made into sparkling.

The island’s varied microclimates allow winemakers to experiment with different terroirs, resulting in a diverse range of sparkling wines that showcase the richness of Tasmanian soil. From the rolling hills of the Tamar Valley to the picturesque vineyards of the Coal River Valley, each region creates distinct characters to the wines made, making Tasmanian sparkling truly unique.

Tasmanian winemakers follow the traditional method of producing sparkling wine, the same technique used for the making of Champagne. This labor-intensive process involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle, creating those delightful bubbles.

What sets Tasmanian sparkling wines apart is their attentive attention to detail and commitment to crafting each bottle to perfection. With extended lees aging, some wines spend several years on yeast, resulting in a complexity and depth of flavor that rivals their French counterparts. When you taste a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine, you’re in for a sensory journey that combines the best of viticulture and winemaking expertise. These wines offer a crisp, vibrant acidity balanced with a creamy mouthfeel, creating a balanced and indulgent experience.

For classic Tasmanian sparkling the traditional varieties of Chardonnay; give elegance and citrus notes, while Pinot Noir contributes red berry flavors and a touch of spice. Pinot Meunier rounds out the blend with its floral and fruity characteristics, resulting in a traditional sparkling wine that captures the essence of Tasmania’s cool climate, which is refreshing yet complex. Other varieties can be used to create different styles of sparkling in Tasmania, usually part of a sparkling white blend. For instance, Pinot Blanc is dominantly used in Blanc de Blanc sparkling wines, which gives crisp acidity and citrus notes whereas other varieties such as Gruner Veltliner, can create sparkling wines with unique flavours such as green apple, white pepper and citrus notes.

Tasmanian sparkling wines have been making waves on the international stage, gaining praise and winning awards. Leading critics and sommeliers honouring the wines for their elegance, finesse, and ability to rival Champagne. Tasmanian sparkling wines have even taken top awards in global competitions, confirming their status as world-class offerings.

For those intrigued by the world of Tasmanian sparkling wines, a visit to the island’s vineyards is a must. Wineries like Jansz, Clover Hill, and Josef Chromy offer tasting experiences set against breathtaking landscapes. You can explore the cellars, witness the winemaking process firsthand, and, of course, savour some of Tasmania’s finest sparkling.

Tasmanian sparkling wines are a testament to the passion, craftsmanship, and unique terroir that Tasmania has to offer. As these wines continue to gain recognition and global acclaim, they are undoubtedly staged to become a staple in the world of sparkling wine. So, the next time you’re searching for a bottle of sparkling that combines tradition, innovation, and the charm of Tasmania, reach for a Tasmanian sparkling wine and prepare to be delighted by the drop.

Some recommended Tasmanian Sparkling Wines;

– 2019 Apogee Deluxe Vintage Brut;

The 2019 Apogee Deluxe Vintage Brut has a pale straw hue with a nose of fresh green apples, ripe pears, and subtle hints of toasty richness. On the palate, a balanced blend of crisp acidity and creamy texture dances with flavors of citrus zest, honeyed apricot, and a touch of almond. A lingering finish, with zesty notes, elegance and depth.

– 2017 Delamere Vintage Cuvee;

The 2017 Delamere Vintage Cuvee has a pale straw hue with a nose of bouquets of orchard fruits and delicate florals, with a palate of citrus and stone fruit with a creamy tone. The finish, with its refreshing acidity and subtle minerality, gives elegance and finesse.

– 2008 Arras ‘EJ Carr Late Disgorged;

The 2008 Arras ‘EJ Carr Late Disgorged has a radiant golden appearance which hints at the depth of the wine, also super fine beaded mousse. On the palate, flavours of caramelized apple to roasted nuts with a velvety texture are all balanced with vibrant acidity. This late-disgorged vintage is a testament to Arras’s commitment to excellence. A very luxurious wine.

– 2018 Clover Hill Cuvee Exceptionelle Brut Rose;

The 2018 Clover Hill Cuvee Exceptionelle Brut Rose has a salmon pink color where on the palate, bursts of red berries, citrus zest, and subtle spice, wrapped in a luxurious, creamy texture. This rosé is for those who are seeking a sparkling wine that marries finesse with vibrant berry fruit notes.

– 2014 Henskens Rankin ‘D2’ Blanc de Blancs;

The 2014 Henskens Rankin ‘D2’ Blanc de Blancs has a pale straw hue and lively bubbles, where on the palate there are notes of crisp apples, citrus zest, and hints of toasted brioche, this Blanc de Blancs blends freshness and complexity really well. Its silky texture and vibrant acidity create a wonderful mouthfeel that lingers on the palate, with a finish of citrus zest and a touch of hazelnut.

Teri Wheeler

Wine Professional from South Australia, has made a mark in the wine industry due to her passion and extensive experience in the industry, as a Wine Ambassador, Business Develop Manager, Merchant Success Manager, Wine Educator, Writer, Examiner and Critic for various wine companies and publications, all underpinned by her soon to be completed Level 4 Diploma in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, making her a valuable figure in the world wines.