Meet Jennifer Doyle of Jansz Tasmania
When did you first fall in love with wine?
I first fell in love with wine when working on a vineyard, in the Hunter Valley, during uni holidays. I loved being in the vineyard – it was a full immersion of observing and appreciating viticulture, grape vine pests and diseases, sampling grapes for harvest and tasting real wine! It was here that my interest in viticulture was ignited. As a casual staff member, I was introduced to different grape varieties and hence began my lifelong pursuit and pleasure – endeavouring to grasp and differentiate those flavours in the resultant wines. It was so stimulating to me (and for a Uni student, the staff wine prices were pretty exciting too!).
Do you feel pressure being the vigneron of such a prestigious winery like Jansz?
Yes, I most certainly do feel the incredible responsibility of ensuring that we produce the healthiest and most delicious grapes possible for harvest each season. This is always challenging and requires us to be flexible and in-tune with the weather, given the whim of climatic idiosyncrasies, particularly in an island environ like Tasmania. And further, there are myriad stages that it could all go terribly wrong during the making of the wine! It requires attention to detail, to the small things that make a difference and respecting and cultivating the nuances. It requires trusting experience, anticipation of the complications and knowing how and when to avert them. It is particularly apparent for Sparkling winemaking, given the long lead time in the making – the wine is in our hands for a long time before a perfectly matured bottle makes its way to the dinner table.
What is the best thing about working in the wine industry?
When compared to other agricultural pursuits, wine is an industry that allows one to follow through the complete lifecycle of its produce, and reach far beyond simply growing it – from planting grapevine rootlings to sharing a bottle of wine with family and friends at the dinner table years, and maybe decades, later. It is the melding of both science and art.
What makes Tasmania such a great place for winemaking?
The elegant expression and purity of fruit that this frigid clime evokes from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is quintessentially Tasmanian.
The Pipers River region, in north-eastern Tasmania, is the home of Jansz, and is fondly referred to by the locals as ‘Sparkling Tasmania’. Its secret to creating exceptional Sparkling wine is the icy chill that emanates from the body of water, Bass Strait, between Tasmania and mainland Australia. These moderating breezes create a long, cool ripening season, allowing intense yet delicate and elegant flavours to develop in the grapes and maintaining a fine natural acidity.
At the weekend, what do you do to relax?
We live near a beautiful beach on the Tasman Peninsula, and would never be forgiven if we didn’t take Molly (Smithfield Border Collie) and George (Border Collie pup) for a long run each day – they have the vineyard during the week! With the stunning Tasman National Park just on our doorstep we enjoy hiking through the bush, supping the spectacular waterways and chilling with yoga. And, of course, enjoying the odd drop whilst preparing local Tassie produce for dinner to share with friends.
If you had to pick three, name your biggest career highlights so far?
Planting Jansz’s southern Tasmanian vineyards, ‘Parish’ and ‘Woodside,’ was extremely rewarding. It was invaluable to be able to see it through start from scratch, matching specific sites with appropriate sparkling clones and building a keen and dedicated team to plant and maintain these vineyards.
Being a recipient of the 2012 Dr Don Martin Sustainable Viticulture Fellowship, a self-designed study tour to travel to Central Otago and Marlborough in New Zealand, Oregon in the US and Burgundy, France, to develop a greater understanding of each of these unique world-class winegrowing regions and to bring something of that back to Tasmania, where we grow the same varieties.
Being awarded 2017 Australian Women in Wine Viticulturist of the Year, and going to London to receive it!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to winemaking?
That great wine is made in the vineyard. It is a phrase that is increasingly used, but one that I absolutely endorse as a viticulturist at my core. I guess it was something that I felt innately in my earlier career, but to have it effusively advocated by mentor and manager, Louisa Rose, has allowed me to fully appreciate its significance. Lou, Head of Winemaking for Yalumba and Hill-Smith Family Vineyards, has cultivated my ever-broadening focus in all aspects of wine and is a great proponent for ‘wine being made in the vineyard’ and the stewardship values that complement this philosophy. This has had such a positive influence in reaffirming my own path and management style.
What other wine varieties do you make at Jansz?
Jansz Tasmania is a dedicated Sparkling house. Our range of Vintage Sparklings include a 100% Chardonnay, a 100% Pinot Noir Rosé, a Vintage Cuvée that is a blend of both varieties, however Chardonnay-dominant, and a late-disgorged of this Vintage Cuvée. We also produce two Non-Vintage Sparklings – a Cuvée (your wine of the month) and a matching Rosé.
What is your favourite wine variety to make and why?
I love Chardonnay – the purity and line, the natural acidity that drives the structure of the wine and the elegant finesse with which the Tasmanian terroir imbues it. And inversely, the way that Chardonnay can evoke sea spray and oyster shells.
The Jansz Premium Cuvée NV is our wine of the month – what makes this such a standout?
Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvée is a non-vintage blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The grapes come from both our northern and southern Tasmanian vineyards, and are further blended with selected older vintages. Together with malolactic fermentation and bottle-aging on lees, these features contribute complexity of flavour and texture to this stylish Sparkling.
The nose displays aromas of honeysuckle, citrus zest and fresh strawberries, with more complex aromas of nougat and roasted nuts. Delicate fruit and creaminess fills the mouth with a lingering finish of citrus and nougat.
We have paired it with seasonal fruit and vincotto and crème fraiche. What do you enjoy pairing it with?
Yum, that sounds good! You could also pair it simply with freshly shucked oysters (try the native Angasi) with a little Jansz Tasmania Premium Cuvée NV drizzled over it!
What is your favourite wine, apart from the ones you make?
How to choose?! Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Blanc de Blancs, Fromm Pinot Noir, Sinapius Chardonnay, Pewsey Vale ‘Contours’ to name a few, for now!
What’s your ultimate wine and food match?
Pinot Noir with slow-roasted Wessex Saddleback pork shoulder, pinkeye potatoes, roasted seasonal root vegetables and butter-fried Brussels sprouts finished with a dash of mirin.
What is your favourite…
Cocktail? Strawberry daiquiri – strawberries and lime, yum.
Book? ‘Collapse,’ by Jared Diamond, was a pivotal book for me, elucidating my understanding of the fragility of the human /environment interface.
Season? Autumn in Tasmania – the still, crystal clear days and evening chill; the beautiful autumnal colours of the native Nothofagus and the vineyards as they retire for another season.