Hey winemakers! If you find yourself in a Pinot noir crisis due to yield shortages, increased demand or simply outrageous pricing, don’t despair for there is the other pinot; Pinot meunier, to be exact. Pinot meunier is actually just a mutation of Pinot noir, so they have similar taste profiles and growing requirements. Yet, for those winemakers with concerns for global warming, meunier is not only well suited to grow in cool climates; it actually ripens earlier than Pinot noir.
A native to Burgundy and Champagne, Pinot meunier is one of the three grape varietals used in the production of Champagne. In fact, Pinot meunier is the most planted varietal in that region with a total planted acreage equal to both Chardonnay and Pinot noir combined. Historically, the wine is consumed young, so no worries about aging in barrels or getting it to the shelf in time to sell. The fruity, soft characteristics of the varietal contribute to the youthfulness of the wine.
In Oregon there are only three vineyards produce 100% Pinot meunier; Chateau Lorane, Willakenzie and Amalie Roberts. Just think, in a few years, with a really aggressive marketing plan (and maybe a movie) to ensure skyrocketing demand, we could have a Pinot meunier crisis on our hands.
Annette Solomon, CS