Chandon California Pinot Meunier 2006
While Domaine Chandon is best known a one of America's top sparkling wines, they also produce limited quantities of wines from estate grown vineyards. They craft these wines by drawing on the experience with the traditional champagne varietals and showcasing select parcels from their Carneros ranch, where they were among the pioneering growers and vintners of the region. Pinot Meunier (French for "miller" in reference to the powdery underside of the leaves that can look as though dusted with flour) is the soulful sibling of Pinot Noir. It 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 in that appellation, Pinot Meunier is being discovered by only a few of the most adventurous winemakers.
Chandon's experience growing Carneros Pinot Meunier for our sparkling wine programs over the past three decades allows gives us unique insight and allows us to tap into the potential of this variety to create an exceptional wine. We believe its distinctive character deserves a place on every wine lover's table. Hand-crafted in 1989 in boutique quantities, the 2005 Pinot Meunier continues our proud tradition pioneering unique wine styles. Search for this wine and you will be rewarded.
Born in 1973 from the sparkling connection between two pioneers, and raised among the peaks and valleys of the golden state of California, we are Chandon California. The vision of our founders? To make the very best Californian sparkling wine possible. Vibrant, fresh, approachable, Chandon California uses the same three noble grape varieties used in Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier), but our grapes enjoy the sunnier Californian climate, resulting in flavor that is more fruit-forward. We invite you to grab your squad, pop a bottle, and discover more.
Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.
This late budding and early ripening red variety, while once planted extensively throughout northern France, is today almost exclusively used in the production of Champagne. In Champagne’s two or three varietal blend, Pinot Meunier adds lively fruit. Chardonnay adds brightness and Pinot noir is appreciated for structure and weight. Pinot Meunier has acidity levels higher than in Pinot noir, making it a prized choice for Champagne growers. It thrives in cool north-facing vineyards and is able to withstand damp or frost-prone valleys. Not surprisingly, it does well in Germany where it goes by Müllerrebe or confusingly, Schwarzriesling. You can also find it in other cooler climate wine zones such as the German-speaking Switzerland, Austria and even Victoria, Australia.
Though we don’t often see it bottled on its own, there are a handful of California and French producers—pretty much anywhere sparkling wine is made—who do. As a red wine, it is light bodied and light in color, but with a bold nose of cocoa, espresso, black cherry and smoke. Sweet spice and red berry fruit back up the firm structure in a Pinot Meunier.