TERRY THEISE - Pinot Meunier

Hi Terry,

My wife and I recently discovered and enjoyed an Egly-Ouriet “Les Vignes de Vrigny.” This was our first experience with a Champagne that is 100% Pinot Meunier. We’ve also started to see some Champagnes using a higher percentage of PM in the traditional three-grape blend. Is this grape becoming more noticed or important in Champagne? Are you seeing a trend towards growing and bottling more of it? Are there any other 100% or Meunier-dominant Champagnes you would recommend?

Thank you for joining us!


A lot of producers, especially but not exclusively young producers, have discovered the potential of old-vines Meunier. The variety will give delightful results if it’s planted in a decent spot and given its share of respect.

Jose Michel (imported by the wonderful Ed Addiss at Wine Traditions) is the granddaddy of the Meunier-movement. He has 100+ year-old vines, and makes some special fizz from them.

Loriot in Festigny is also bottling an old-vines Meunier, and he’s a new member of the Special Club. The wines are shipped to us but I don’t know who imports them.

My guy Chartogne has a wine en tirage that promises to be remarkable.

I think Laherte (in Chavot) is also working with old-vines Meunier. Any serious bubble-heads among you are directed to the excellent and passionate work of Peter Liem and of Brad Baker.

Since we’re on the subject, will you be importing Chartogne-Taillet Les Barres? [thankyou.gif]

Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back?

suppose in some context, but in reality…assuming he’s still alive, 90yr old Collard would be considered that. You can still find the NV ultra Brut via wine-searcher, but I don’t know of any way to get the bottles KL wines direct imported back in 2005-08, especially the limited release of older vintages:
René Collard “Cuvée Ultime” Ultra Brut
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1017069" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What great Champagne! Mr. Collard was born in 1921 in the heart of the Marne Valley. In 1943, his father (who was a grower) saw his dedication to the family vineyards and gave him a little less than a hectare of vines of his own in the village of Reuil, with which he made his first Champagne from that year. Since that time he has been making a tiny amount of the most unique Champagne in the world. He has slowly added to his estate- buying up choice vineyards in the '40s, '50s, and '60s in the villages of Reuil and Damery. This wine is made entirely from the 1995 harvest, although it does not carry a vintage date. Mr. Collard felt that this wine, made from extraordinarily old meunier vines, did not need any sugar added to it at all. But unlike other zero dosage Champagnes, this bottling does not taste any drier than a dry style Brut, due to the exceptional ripeness of the grapes used. It has a big, bread dough nose and plenty of exotic pear and apple flavors. The finish is crisp, long, detailed and seems to swell up after a few seconds.

1985 René Collard “Cuvée Speciale” Brut Rosé
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1003150" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

His estate is just less than 7 hectares (17.5 acres) planted to about 90% meunier and 10% chardonnay. He has the good fortune of having an amazing cellar that is 25 feet deep at its shallowest and 75 feet deep at the far end… Here the wines that are now on offer have rested, at a perfect 8.5 degrees Celsius since the day they were made. Mr. Collard only makes rosé in great vintages- so rarely that this was the only one produced in the whole decade of the '80s. It is composed entirely of meunier, 88% vinified white and the rest as still red wine. I have never experienced a wine like it- the only thing that I can compare it to is Chambertin. The purity, power and grace of the meunier left me wordless at my notebook

1976 René Collard “Cuvée Prestige Roi Rene” Brut
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1003151" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Mr. Rene Collard only makes vintage wine in exceptional years. The decade of the eighties only saw two vintages and the nineties the same. In extremely rare instances, Mr. Collard will make Roi Rene, his top of the line wine. We were lucky enough to get some of this fantastic, utterly individual wine! This Champagne is composed of 85% meunier and 15% chardonnay from Mr. Rene Collards ancient vineyards in the villages of Reuil and Damery. This has all the richness of the regular '76, but with more lift and elegance. The freshness it offers at 32 years makes it seem like a counterfeit. This is exceptional Champagne for main courses; veal chops with truffled risotto or Portobello mushrooms stuffed with Chanterelles and bacon come to mind. This bottle has more concentration than many of our biggest Bordeaux’s, and after more than 30 years it is finally ready to drink.

2004 Michel Loriot “Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes” Brut
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1059513" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This stunning, single vineyard Champagne is one of the best we carry at K&L. It comes from the l’Arpent vineyard, which is slightly less than one acre in the village of Festigny. The vines were planted in 1942 and come from an old massal selection of Meunier. Michel Loriot makes only 3 or 4 thousand bottles of this, his top wine, in vintages that he considers good enough… Otherwise this juice goes into the other blends. This light gold color wine has the kind of streamers that I could watch all day, they seem slowed in their travel up from the bottom of the glass by the richness of the wine. The exotic spice on the nose leads to a surprisingly creamy flavor. The Meunier Vieilles Vignes is very full bodied and powerful Champagne, yet finishes with great minerality. The Loriot’s like to serve it with parmesan

Liem’s blog:
http://www.peterliem.com/2008/02/spcial-club.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

some other producers:
2002 De Meric “Cuvée Rene Millesime” Brut (out-of-stock)
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1038521" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

made exclusively from biodynamic meunier from the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne in the western part of Champagne. It was aged in old, small oak casks before bottling in 2003. The color is a gorgeous light gold, with an amazingly compact and powerful bead. On the nose it is explosively spicy with caramel apple and freshly-toasted bread notes heading a long list of adjectives. On the palate it is savory, with a “more pinot noir than pinot noir” flavor that I found to be one of the most complex I have ever had. This is not shy Champagne

Leclerc Briant “La Ravinne” Single Vineyard Brut (out-of-stock)
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1037496" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

100% Pinot Meunier, 100% biodynamic… It is the polar opposite of the mushroomy style of Rene Collard, instead showing a sweet, almost pear eau-de-vie-like clean fruit on the nose and very racy acidity on the back. It is one of the ultimate aperitif Champagnes in the store."

2000 Bruno Michel Cuvee Clement Blanc de Noir(out-of-stock)
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1040206" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This vineyard is all Meunier, and the vines are 70 years old and pre-date the arrival of cloned vines in Champagne. This wine was fermented in old oak, and aged for a year in oak before being bottled. It has a deep straw color that is almost gold and a nose of morel mushrooms in cream and moist forest floor. The Champagne is both broad on the palate and long finishing, a combination that is hard to find. It also has a surprising chalky minerality to offset the huge mid-palate, making for an exquisetly well balanced wine.

Collard-Picard “Cuvee Selection” Brut (finally, in stock :slight_smile: )
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1035577" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Olivier Collard is the grandson of the great Rene Collard in the village of Reuil, one of the most respected and venerable recoltant-manipulant’s in all of Champagne. His wife, Delphine Picard, is the cousin of Chantal Gonet of Champagne Phillipe Gonet in Mesnil. composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. The base of this wine is 2004, which is fermented in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation.

…and now, for something completely…2000 Aubry “Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites”(out-of-stock, but easily found via wine-searcher)
http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1026981" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

made from the ancient (and now almost extinct in Champagne) varietals of Fromenteau (pinot gris) Petit Meslier & Arbanne. The last two are unique to the region; they are black skinned grapes that were quite widely planted before the phylloxera louse invaded Champagne. When it came time to replant, their lack of international cachet, combined with lower yields and problems with disease almost wiped them out. The Aubry brothers are one of the few champions of these varietals. The wine is an elegant red fruit style with excellent deliniation of flavor

http://www.oregonlive.com/mix/index.ssf/friday_night_dinner_party/oysters-and-bubbly-champagne-make-for-a-fabulous-p.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
^Not sure I’d want Champagne with any kind of oysters, save a high-acid, chardonnay based that’s still steely without much mature nuttiness (lol, finding that) with either minimal effervescence or older that had lost most of the bubbles. Bubbles compete, interfere with my ability to enjoy oyster flavors.

[rofl.gif] [rofl.gif] [rofl.gif]

Thanks for all the Meunier tips. Laura and I are both Pinot Meunier fanatics, so this will be a great resource.

Please remember Jerôme Prevost [dance2.gif]

This is one of my favorite champagnes. To me it adds complexity and is delicate like a chardonnay based cuvee and possesses the body/heft of Pint Noir. It is the best of both worlds.