Quick, name the grapes you’d typically find in Champagne.
A sparkling wine aficionado might be quick to name the two biggies: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. There’s also a lesser-known third grape, called Pinot Meunier.
I first learned about the grape when the 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro in Ocean Beach held a Domaine Chandon tasting. They were pouring their 2011 Pinot Meunier, so I bought a bottle to add to our unusual grape files.
Sally and I tried the wine last night. Although Pinot Meunier is commonly found in sparkling wine, the Domaine Chandon is a still red wine.
The wine was very light in color, but had a lot of earthy funk on the nose. The front palate was a mixture of bright fruits like strawberry and cherry which quickly gave way to more earthiness. A lot of these tasting notes sound right out of the Pinot Noir playbook, and they are similar, but the mix was something different.
The wine was familiar, yet new.
It paired well with our meal of sausage, arugula salad, and Kraft macaroni and cheese. (Deluxe, if you must know.) Earthiness is a great quality when pairing with sausage, and this wine had plenty of it.
If you see a bottle of Pinot Meunier, pick one up and try it out.