Rouge Valley Archives - Please The Palate
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There are three grapes grown in Champagne but most people are aware of two of the grapes - Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The third grape is Pinot Meunier, a grape that gets less acclaim. I have tasted a few Champagnes that are predominantly, or exclusively, Pinot Meunier, but I had never had a still red wine made from 100% Pinot Meunier until now. And that is why the Irvine & Roberts 2016 Pinot Meunier from the Rouge Valley in Oregon is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Pinot Meunier is a clonal mutation of the Pinot group, which means that it is related to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and others. Pinot Meunier is considered a quiet workhorse in Champagne and is not as challenging to grow as Pinot Noir. It is also a rather "ugly duckling" in the vineyard. The vines can look sickly at first glance as the underside of the vines' leaves are covered with a white fur. This is what inspired the name, Meunier, which is French for "miller".