Text Size:-+
04.26.2004

2001 Domain Chandon Pinot Meunier, Carneros

I was chatting on IM the other day with a colleague at work, and in the midst of a conversation, he said, "Hey, have you ever heard of Pinot Meunier before?" I admitted that while familiar with several grape varieties that began with Pinot, that was one I had never heard of.

"Well, they have one from Domaine Chandon at the restaurant where my girlfriend works and she says it makes grown men weep."

Intruiging. I took a look at the Chandon website to get a little more information, and then left it at that. Wouldn't you know it, though, on my birthday, what should I walk into work to find but a nice bottle from that same colleague. If only I arrived to work more often to find nice treats like that waiting for me.

So here's the story on Pinot Meunier from Chandon:

"Pinot Meunier (French for "miller," in reference to the powdery underside of its leaves that can look as though dusted with flour) is the soulful cousin of Pinot Noir that plays a small but vital role in the blending of Chandon sparkling wines. Rarely planted outside of the Champagne region in France where it represents significant acreage of that appellation, Pinot Meunier is being discovered by only a few of the most adventurous California winemakers."

Experts believe that Meunier (as it is also known) is an early mutation of the Pinot Noir grape, but unlike its supposed forefther it is a much hardier and reliable fruit, providing consistently higher yields even across a wide variety of growing climates, especially in cooler or shadier vineyards. So much more reliable, as well as crucial to the flavor of traditional Champagne, it is that regions most popular variety by acre planted.

In California it is grown almost entirely in cool Carneros, originally planted as California producers sought to make "genuine" replicas of Champagne.

When we invited some friends over for dinner the other night and Ruth planned a dinner of pork chops, I decided to try it out and see how it compared to Pinot Noir as an accompaniment to the other white meat.

Tasting Notes:
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of roses, strawberries and rasberries -- a lighter more luscious nose than is often found on Pinot Noir. The body of the wine is tart and bright with flavors of rasberry and orange zest and the lightest touch of tannins. This wine doesn't have the depth and resonance that some Pinot Noirs from Sonoma can have, however it does not lack in complexity. It's a great food wine that is very pleasurable to drink.

Food Pairing:
Ruth made a lovely dinner from the Mustard's Grill cookbook, and the wine went perfectly with it, complementing the mongolian pork chop, fresh snow peas, and Mustards' mashed potatoes. As the marinade for the pork chops was sweeter and very rich in flavor, the more tart aspects of the wine contrasted perfectly.

Overall Score: 9

How much?: $28

This wine can be purchased from several online merchants. Try Wine Searcher for one near you.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

What's Holding Wine Back in America Vinography Images: From the Fog The World's First Wine Bar Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 31, 2015 Vinography Images: Sky Drama Secrets of the World's Best Wine Lists Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 24, 2015 Vinography Images: The Happy Canyon Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud