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Carneros Pinot Meunier, 2012
Chandon is best known as one of America’s top sparkling wines. Less known is Domaine Chandon also produces limited quantities of varietal wines from our estate vineyards. The winery has been growing Pinot Meunier for its sparkling wine programs for more than three decades, which provides our winemaking team with unique insight to capture the full potential of this variety.
2012 was a wonderful vintage in Carneros. We had a very mild growing season with very low yields. The berries were very small which let to wines with lots of color and richness. To make an irresistible Pinot Meunier, that is light on its feet and packed with flavor, we were very careful about over extraction.
Our Carneros vineyard terroir is diverse with rolling hills sloping to San Pablo Bay. The proximity of the bay moderates the vineyard microclimates with morning and evening fog along with afternoon breezes. The cool, extended growing season is ideal for Pinot Meunier and provides the long hang time essential for complexity, intense aromatics and flavor, and finesse. The vines sit in a very windy section of the vineyard which allows for very low yields that result in concentrated still wines.
Our Pinot Meunier grapes were sorted and added to open-top fermenters, with almost all of the lots having at least 20 percent whole clusters. All of the wines were fermented using native yeasts. While the wine was actively fermenting, it was treated to daily punch downs and the occasional délestage. After the wine finished fermentation it is transferred to French oak barrels, 30 percent new, where it underwent native malolactic fermentation. Of these French oak barrels, one-third were large format puncheons and demi muids. The wine was aged for 10.5 months and was racked for the first time when transferrred to the bottling tank.
This wine is spice driven with aromas of 5 spice, nutmeg, hibiscus, rosehips and damson plum. The palate bursts forth with big spicy and rich cherry, licorice, tar and earth. The wine has a continuous bead of minerality throughout and a supple, refreshing finish that begs for another sip.
Food and Wine Pairing
We like to serve out Pinot Meunier with spicy foods and those with Mediterranean spices. Foods with tahini, cumin, chili peppers, and bold herbs make great pairings. Try it with falafel, mulligatawny, or ginger spiced grilled shrimp skewers.