La Follette Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Meunier 2009
Defined more by altitude than geographical outline, the Sonoma Mountain appellation occupies elevations between 400 and 1,200 feet on the northern and eastern slopes of the actual Sonoma Mountain and is part of the greater Sonoma Valley appellation. The mountain reaches 2,400 feet; its hills separate the cooling winds of Petaluma Gap from the Sonoma Valley.
On a cooler western flank, Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Syrah enjoy a great deal of success. Vineyards on its warmer, eastern side, interspersed with heavily forested areas, tend to include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Given its complexity of topography and mesoclimates, Sonoma Mountain excels with a wide range of grape varieties.
Almost exclusively used in the production of Champagne, Pinot Meunier is a late budding and early ripening red variety that was once planted extensively throughout northern France. When blended into Champagne’s eponymous sparkling wine, 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. Somm Secret—Not surprisingly, it does well in Germany where it goes by Müllerrebe or confusingly, Schwarzriesling.