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Pinot Meunier Day: 12 award-winning wines to try

A key blending partner in Champagne and more recently, English sparkling, get to know Meunier with this selection of 90-plus point varietal wines from Decanter World Wine Awards.

Often overlooked by its internationally celebrated blending partners Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier (also known as Meunier or Schwarzriesling) is a red-skinned grape variety which is primarily cultivated in Champagne, and part of the classic Champagne blend trio.

Considered a mutation of Pinot Noir, Meunier is well adapted to Champagne’s cool climate as it buds later and ripens earlier than its two blending partners, making it less susceptible to spring frosts and climatic disruptions at harvest. It also thrives in a range of soils, making this an advantageous variety for growers.

Major plantings are found in the frost-prone Vallée de la Marne, the northernmost section of Montagne de Reims, the Massif de Saint-Thierry, and west of Reims in the Vesle and Ardre valleys.

Scroll down to see award-winning varietal Pinot Meunier wines from DWWA 2023

Meunier’s moderate acidity softens and adds approachability to a blend. It contributes red-fruit aromas and earthiness, producing wines suitable for immediate consumption – although some producers have championed its potential for ageing.

While it is often used in blends, producers do bottle Pinot Meunier as a varietal wine; Blanc de Noirs seeing particular success with expressive aromas and powerful, fruity flavours.

Outside of Champagne, England, Germany, California, New Zealand and the Loire Valley are some of the regions that Pinot Meunier is grown. Still red and rosé wines are characterised for their light body, lively fruitiness and refreshing acidity.

To celebrate International Pinot Meunier Day, we highlight top-awarded sparkling Meunier wines from Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2023, primarily Champagnes, but with UK fizz from East Sussex making the list too. Discover these 12 unique wines to try this holiday season and beyond.

Pinot Meunier Day: DWWA 2023 award-winning wines to try

Champagne, France

Lionel Girard Et Fils, Origine Extra-Brut NV
Gold, 95 points
A purity of apple and peach with a liberal scattering of toasted poporn enhanced with a linear backbone of acidity and a glistening buzz of limestone. Alcohol 12.5%

Roger-Constant Lemaire, Sélect Réserve Brut NV
Silver, 93 points
Very ripe and developed notes of baked apple, oriental spices and hints of perfumed blossom. Fine mousse and crunchy acidity. Alc 12.5%

Laurent Lequart, Cuvée Prestige Extra Brut NV
Silver, 92 points
Subtle aromas of baked apple, with notes of yellow peaches and hints of toast. Very juicy core, with a salty finish. Alc 12%

Pierre Jardin, Haute Cornée Brut 2017
Silver, 92 points
Restrained aromas of vanilla, hazelnut and quince. Waxy on the palate, with a very long finish. Harmonious and interesting. Alc 12.5%

Yannick Prévoteau, Alter Ego Extra Brut NV
Silver, 92 points
Light apple aromas with notes of dried fruits and attractive bready notes. Showing tension on the palate, with a bright acidity. Alc 12%

Beaumont Des Crayères, Grand Meunier Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV
Silver, 91 points
Toasty and doughy with aromas of red apple, pastry and hints of red berries. Well integrated mousse on the palate. Alc 12.5%

Cattier, Meunier Brut Premier Cru 2016
Silver, 90 points
An elegant style, notes of white flowers, almonds, with a lively mousse, that does not overpower. Fresh and vivid finish, lingers well. Alc 12.5%

Dom Caudron, Cornalyne Brut NV
Silver, 90 points
Inviting nose, displaying scents of bruised apples, pear, roasted nuts and touches of gingery spices. Racy acidity on the palate. Alc 12.4%

Jean Comyn, So Hype Blanc De Noirs Brut NV
Silver, 90 points
Very perfumed red fruit aromas with floral nuances, some hints of pastry and yeasty notes. Creamy mousse and long finish. Alc 12.3%

Lasseaux, Pole Position Brut NV
Silver, 90 points
Pretty perfumed floral nuances on the nose, with aromas of red apple and cherry. Persistent mousse on the palate. Alc 12.5%

Laurent Lequart, Saignée De Meunier Extra Dry NV
Silver, 90 points
Very pretty raspberry primary attack. Supple, ripe and broad palate with fine red fruit and citrus highlights. Alc 12%

East Sussex, United Kingdom

Bluebell Vineyard, Hindleap Meunier Brut 2019
Silver, 91 points
Clean, bright, fruit which is enticing. Some unripe cherry with firm acidity. Nicely balanced and a very well made wine. Alc 11.5%

Search all DWWA 2023 results 

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