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“Twenty, 30 years ago, everybody was speaking about Champagne as a blend[ed] wine,” says Jérôme Dehours of Champagne Dehours &amp Fils. But currently, much more producers are relying on a single grape assortment to make distinct bottlings. And 1 may possibly surprise you: Pinot Meunier.

Although Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are by far the most effective-recognized wine grapes in Champagne, Pinot Meunier is effectively represented in the vineyards. It accounts for 32 % of plantings in Champagne, slightly much more than Chardonnay (30 %), but much less than Pinot Noir (38 %).

Specially prevalent in the Marne Valley, “Meunier is the identity of the area we are in,” says Dehours. “It is the identity of the domaine.”

A key purpose for Pinot Meunier’s huge presence in the Marne is that its bud break happens later than in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, creating it much less prone to frost harm. Even though the grape is expedient to the regional circumstances, winemakers are also fascinated with what Pinot Meunier can do when offered a starring part in Champagne.

“Meunier is the identity of the area we are in. It is the identity of the domaine.” —Jérôme Dehours

Eric Taillet of Champagne Eric Taillet is so passionate about Pinot Meunier that he founded the Meunier Institut in 2015, a 10-member group of producers and advocates.

“Our typical objectives and aspirations are to see it lastly recognized in and by itself, not just as a grape assortment to use in regular Champagne blends,” he says.

So what can you anticipate from Pinot Meunier Champagne? David Speer, owner of Ambonnay, a Champagne bar in Portland, Oregon, says that when terroir and winemaking play an influence, the wines have a tendency to be soft and supple in texture.

Choose Producers Bottling Pinot Meunier Champagne

Bérêche &amp Fils
Christophe Mignon
Dehours et Fils
Déhu Père et Fils
Eric Taillet
Jérôme Prévost
José Michel
Laherte Frères

Speer says that the variety of flavors in Pinot Meunier Champagne—including white flowers, herbs (in a superior way), blueberries, spices, earth and meaty notes—is a “fascinating mix of sweet, savory and spicy tones.”

With the rise in reputation of grower Champagnes, Taillet believes that producers who bottle Pinot Meunier alone are capturing some of that excitement.

“Indeed, shoppers currently are turning to grower Champagnes due to the fact they are attracted [to] a soul, a typicity, a signature,” says Taillet. “The 100-% Meunier cuvées are the outcome of this interest.”

Published on October 21, 2016