This spring marks the beginning of a new era for Jeté, as Howard Park ventures outside of the realm of convention to craft the extraordinary. Enter the highly anticipated Jeté En Pointe, made from one single variety, Pinot Meunier, a noble Champagne grape often overlooked and blended away, this exceptional wine proves that balance, complexity and poise are not confined to the limits of custom.
In the world of wine, certain grapes are relegated to a supporting, rather than a leading role. They do not steal the limelight but rather reluctantly fade into the background. Nevertheless, their contributions to a wine’s style and history are undeniable. Pinot Meunier is one of those grapes, often consigned to the backstage of sparkling wine production, however, with its red fruit elegance, umami undertones, fresh acidity and long-established place at the pinnacle of sparkling wine, it is clear that this variety is more than deserving of the spotlight.
The story begins in Champagne, where Pinot Meunier is regarded as one of the three noble varieties fundamental in the making of the region’s distinct and highly coveted style. However, it has always occupied a slightly less exalted position than its illustrious counterparts, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Instead, Pinot Meunier has operated as something of a stalwart, quietly achieving without receiving proper recognition. This has always stuck with Howard Park Chief Winemaker and sparkling specialist, Nic Bowen, who has long dreamed of giving this magnificent variety the attention it deserves.
Thriving in cooler climes, Pinot Meunier boasts enhanced resistance to cold weather when compared to its cousin, Pinot Noir. Its affinity for colder temperatures, coupled with its ability to bud late and ripen early, renders it indispensable in Champagne’s cooler vineyard pockets, where it flourishes when others would falter. And yet, Pinot Meunier’s function goes far beyond mere survival. Pinot Meunier contributes an intensity of fruit and a pleasing roundness fundamental to the tapestry of flavours that define the Champagne blend. However, it rarely features as a stand-alone variety in the wines of the region.
Halfway across the world, far-flung from its native home, Pinot Meunier has found an unlikely oasis in the Great Southern wine region of Western Australia. It is in the cool southern reaches of the state that this previously underappreciated grape has prospered on the south-facing slopes of the Mount Barrow vineyard. It is one parcel in particular that has always stood head and shoulders above the rest. In 2021, the supreme quality of this block could no longer be denied. The fruit was so spectacular that the winemaking team decided it was time to craft a wine solely from this one section, a single-variety Pinot Meunier.
The grapes from this prized patch of vines were hand-harvested and then gently whole bunch pressed, with only the finest free-run juice retained for the base wine. The juice was vinified in cool conditions in both stainless steel and older French oak. Nic Bowen writes, ‘The winemaking process involves a gentle touch of oak to provide a refined palate structure that enhances the persistent primary fruit flavours. Its soft mineral acidity complements these characteristics.’ En Pointe undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation, which is a crucial step in building complexity and enhancing mouthfeel. To foster the development of intricate textures, the base wine rested on its lees for several months prior to racking, filtration and tirage in December 2021.
A low dosage (0.4g/l sugar) was employed in this wine with no addition of reserve wine in order to maintain purity of site and varietal integrity. Nic states, ‘as an Extra Brut, this approachable wine maintains a bright, crunchy quality while layers of complexity unfold with each sip.’ Disgorgement took place in batches after a minimum of 18 months on lees. This step marked the culmination of a patient and skilful winemaking journey, resulting in a sparkling wine that beautifully encapsulates its origins and showcases the interplay of vineyard, winemaking and the essence of the grape variety itself.
The end result is a wine that embodies harmony, endless complexity and infinite elegance. The Jeté En Pointe strikes the perfect balance between primary flavours of vibrant red fruit such as strawberries and redcurrants complemented by delicate rose-like aromatics. Hints of fresh baguette from lees-ageing seamlessly meld with evolving tertiary characteristics and umami undertones.
The Jeté En Pointe beckons to those with an inquisitive palate, specifically individuals drawn to alternative sparkling wines or those well-versed in traditional varieties of Champagne. With its bright, layered and nuanced qualities, it invites you on a journey through history, flavour and the artistry at the heart of méthode traditionnelle winemaking.
With only 92 dozen produced, the Jeté En Pointe is an extremely limited-release wine. If you are a curious connoisseur or effervescence enthusiast, do not hesitate to secure some bottles for your collection while supplies last. Available exclusively through our website and Cellar Door. Elevate your moments with Jeté En Pointe.