We believe that it is our unusual French grape varieties, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, Clairette and White Frontignac, that make Jb Wines unique. After completing vintages in France and U.S.A. (California) Joe came back to the Barossa inspired! In no time at all he had planted, in his family’s vineyard, four “rare in Australia” French varietals, as well as Zinfandel, savoured by Californian wine lovers, all discovered during his time abroad. In this way, he has continued the French contribution to the Barossa began by Carl Sobels his ancestor, the first professional winemaker in Tanunda in the Barossa Valley.
Pinot Blanc has been grown for centuries in Alsace and Burgundy, as well as in Italy and Eastern Europe. The Pinot Blanc grape is thought to be a mutation of Pinot Gris, which in turn is related to the red Pinot Noir. There are very few other plantings of Pinot Blanc in mainland Australia with some in Tasmania and New Zealand. Jb Wines Pinot Blanc has a distinctive, characteristic, nose clearly recognised by visitors from France and Italy. Its citrus, stone fruit and complex flavour makes it an excellent complement to seafood!
Pinot Meunier is a red (black) grape grown extensively in France where, together with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it imparts distinctive characteristics to Champagne. Pinot Meunier is a mutant of Pinot Noir and was discovered in the 15 th century. Pinot Meunier vines are noted for the whitish “downy” appearance of their leaves. At Jb Wines Pinot Meunier was planted specifically to combine with Chardonnay for our Je Veux bottle-fermented Sparkling, where it imparts fullness and delicious, lingering strawberry flavour. In vintages where we are not making a new sparkling wine, the grapes are used alone to make our dry and elegant Pinot Meunier Rosé.
The white grape, Clairette, is one of the oldest varieties grown in France, dating back to Roman times. It is found around Minervois, and small appellations in the Hérault, and Bellegarde Clairette in the southern Rhône. There it is used to make the sparkling “Clairette de Die” or blended with other varieties. It is one of the permitted grapes in Châteauneuf du Pape. It is also used to make vermouth, which explains the wonderful savoury back palate of fennel, peach and herbs. Our Clairette has been described as the “red wine drinkers’ white wine”. There are only a few small vineyards of Clairette in Australia. A perfect aperitif.
White Frontignac (Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains) is thought to be the oldest identifiable grape grown in France. It is now grown extensively in the Rousillon, Catalonia, Languedoc and southern Rhone regions where it is famous for producing a golden sweet muscat. In Australia it has also traditionally been used to make sweet wines. However, these grapes can also be used to produce beautiful dry aromatic wines, such as our Snowy and Ringo White Frontignac. It has very low alcohol, so it is versatile and makes an excellent five o’clock aperitif!