Description 1 of 2

Name of varietal: Pinot Meunier

Common synonyms: Meunier, Mullerebe, Schwarzriesling
Parentage of the grape: mutation of Pinot Noir
History of the grape: The name derives from the floury coating on the underside of the grape leaves; “meunier’ is French for “miller.” It grows mainly in the region of Champagne, and while rarely appears on a label, is one of the primary blending grapes in the distinguished sparklers along with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s kind of the Kevin Spacey of grapes, with its important supporting roles adding additional characteristics like aromatics, brightness and acidity to the wine. In other parts of Europe such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland it is produced as a young, light, dry or off dry red varietal (Mullerebe or Schwarzrielsing) release as well as in blends both dry and sparkling. 
Characteristics of the grape: on its own very low in tannins, light-bodied, fruit-forward, somewhat acidic, cherry, strawberry, raspberry
Regions where the grape is currently important: Champagne, other parts of France (often as a blend in rose), Germany, Austria, Switzerland, California, Australia.
Type or types of wines the grape produces: dry and off dry sparkling, dry and off dry red, rosé
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

(aka. Auvergnat Gris, Black Riesling, Blance Feuille, Blaue Positschtraube, Farineux Noir, Miller's Burgundy, Morillon Tacone, Mullerrebe)

Pinot Meunier’s heritage is traced to northern France, where it is particularly important in France’s Champagne region. Here, it is the most planted variety, with acreage roughly equivalent to the acreages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir combined. It offers youthful fruit character and tart acidity to the traditional blend. However, wines which are predominantly Pinot Meunier tend to be less age worthy. Pinot Meunier is well suited to cool climates, as it buds later than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This makes it less susceptible than its more noble partners to frost. It also ripens earlier than Pinot Noir. In North America, Pinot Meunier can be found in New York State’s Finger Lakes region, where it is known as Black Riesling. More notably however, California growers in regions such as Caneros and the Anderson Valley, wishing to produce authentic champagne-style wines, introduced Meunier to the vineyards in the 1980s. Today, most all of the state’s 300 acres of PM reside in the Carneros area. Some work is being done with this vareital as a still wine, most prominently in Oregon, Washington State, Germany, and France’s Loire Valley. When produced as a still wine, the result is a product that is a light red to rosé in color, with crisp acidity and some smoky notes. Although these wines are not designed to age, they are very enjoyable in their youth.

It is a shame you rarely get the recognition
that your cousin Pinot Noir or Miss Chardonnay
receive. At all the fashionable celebrations
those two stars seem to be the toast of the
evening, while you, poor little Cinderalla, are
left in the fizz to do most of the work. Perhaps
it is a perceived lack of sophistication. No matter,
your global family understands what an important
part of the mix you are. Your youthful effervescence
and sparkling personality are irrepressible. You're
our favorite pop-up girl! – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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