Pinot Meunier has always played "third fiddle" to Champagne's power couple, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Growers always liked having it around because it buds later than PN and Chard, which means it's less likely to be damaged by the late frosts that can hit Champagne so far north--especially in the Marne Valley. For growers it meant diversification.For drinkers, on the other hand, it was an unglamorous variety that often came across as rustic or rough-edged. But that perception has been changing. Culty producers like Jerome Prevost and Raphael Bereche make highly sought-after Meunier-based wines. And even below the superstar level there's a whole generation of small growers who have started putting out really delicious Meunier-focused champagnes that don't break the bank.Cedric Moussé is a classic example. When he took over the family estate in 2003 he was the 12th generation to run things. He practices organic farming and makes wines that are precise, savory, and bright-fruited, with no oak influence. They show Meunier's pretty side: purity of fruit, white flowers, subtle herbal tones, and they show its terroir transparency, with clear mineral signatures.
Crisp , Elegant , Minerally
Champagne boasts some of the world’s greatest luxury brands with Krug, Cristal and, of course, Dom Perignon. But it’s also home to hundreds of small dynamic producers—farmers who grow their own grapes (often organically) and make (often with natural methods) tiny amounts of pure and absolutely delicious wine that reflect the individual personalities of their villages and terroirs. Toast with these wines, for sure. But also treat them like the great wines they are: taste, drink, explore!