Pinot Meunier is not a grape you knowingly come across very often, and certainly not when vinified red. Of course it's best known as Champagne's "insurance" grape. Naturally bigger bodied and richer than Pinot Noir it can beef up the wine in feeble years. It's rare to see it bottled as a 100% single variety though and a great pleasure to be able to experience it on its own terms.
A refined, pale ruby wine with a berry-laden bouquet of raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry followed by touches of earth, spice, and dried roses. Juicy red fruit carries through to the palate with cranberry and bing cherries combined with sweet wood, earth, and warm spice. Pinot Meunier’s hallmark acidity plays its part to balance the fruit. Also apparent are silky tannins and a surprisingly long, juicy nish with even more spice. A delight to drink now, it will also improve for 1-2 years from its release date and will cellar well for up to 5.
WillaKenzie Estate has four acres of Pinot Meunier, all planted in 1992 on Willakenzie soil, known for its excellent drainage. Pinot Meunier is a native of the Champagne and belongs to the Pinot family. It is named Meunier (‘Miller’ in English) because of the powdery, ourlike appearance of its foliage. The plants are grafted onto phylloxera resistant rootstock and trained into an upright, double guyot trellising system.
No whole clusters were used and the grapes were 100% destemmed. A cool maceration preceded the fermentation for a total of 22 days of skin contact with daily punch downs by ‘Bigfoot,’ a mechanical punchdown device. After pressing, the wine settled for a few days in tank and was then moved by gravity directly into barrels where it underwent Malolactic fermentation during the next 6 months. The wine spent a total of 11 months in French oak barrels (20% new) from a selection of coopers.