03 August, 2009

2007 Domaine Chandon Carneros Pinot Meunier (Best of WBC09 Pick)

Sometimes, you just get hit in the face with something that's not expected. It's often a product of kismet, chance, good (or bad) fortune and if you're livin' right, then more often than not, it's a welcome gift.

The "$20 Dollar Wine Guy" was fortunate enough to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference 2009 in Sonoma and Napa Valleys. Saturday was an excursion to Napa Valley and tasting/touring day and while this was very enjoyable, there are two things that Napa is well known for:

1. Cabernet Sauvignon
2. $100/btl Cabernet Sauvignon

Accordingly, we did enjoy the "scene" that is a grand tasting that afternoon and it was absolutely an enjoyable event. All in all, amongst a great deal of "noise" of wine tasting, that is, MANY (the vast majority at this Napa Valley tasting) wines that are not in the "about $20 price point", there were some gems.

While very excited and grateful for the day, the bounty and for newly made friends, I was not that impressed with most of the wines. When hearing that dinner would be at Domaine Chandon, I was looking forward to some excellent champers (well, not really, but sparklers conveys a completely different image and we're not going there) but I was guessing my quest for wine that day was complete.

Patience, Patience.

After several courses at Etoile, the Chandon restaurant, dessert was served. A nicely done Valrhona chocolate pate.....and served with it was the Domaine Chandon 2007 Carneros Pinot Meunier.

Hmmm. Great red wine at the Castle of the Bubble?

Yes, P. Meunier at Chandon.... and with dessert. An interesting choice for this "Queen of the Ball" selection. She's extremely feminine, delicate in mouthfeel with a dusty ruby hue. Her nose of fresh framboise and roses leads to a very round mid-palate that bathes the mouth in all things good: lavender, red cherries, black plums, and the evenly-metered, earthy "terroired" finish bids her farewell gently, but enough to remind you that you'll miss her...until the next sip.

P. Meunier is widely used by bubbly makers as a blending grape to add balance and mellowness to similar familied, but different tasting grapes. An example of this is Blanc de Noir. Though it was not in the past, it's now planted outside of the Champagne region and is quite the finicky varietal to grow. It's a bit more high-maintenance than it's cousin P. Noir but if you respect it in growth and harvest and in winemaking, master it, as Chandon's still (as opposed to sparkling) winemaker Jim Kress has done here, a beautiful bottle emerges.

Aged on French and American oak barrels, 5100 cases were produced and it should be widely available.

I enjoyed the wine with dessert, but as I've mentioned, I'd be more interested in trying this with a white meat such as pork with a fruit sauce....perhaps a pomegranate/blood orange reduction. Also, anything off the grill will complement the smoky undertones here.

I often don't get all this excited about a bottle, but I really would like you to enjoy a bottle..and I'd love to hear your feedback about the "Queen of the Ball"


2007 Domaine Chandon Carneros Pinot Meunier
Retail: ~$28
Grade: A



4 comments:

  1. Thanks Jason for the review. Certainly not a wine I'm familiar with and you've made me curious!

    I've written quite a bit about WBC and have thought about doing a "best of WBC" but there were a few bests for me!

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  2. I did a post on three of my favs from WBC.

    http://www.20dollarwineblog.com/search/label/wbc09


    It was a quick post and I will be doing full reviews of the other two shortly.

    I'm glad you're curious about the P. Meunier. I've always liked it, but never had anything close to this. I do know that K&L has some in stock if you can get by there or can get it online.

    Please DO let me know if you try some.

    Best,

    J.

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  3. Waw, beautifully written! I should remember this if this bottle and me ever cross roads! VW

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  4. This has been a constant stable mate for me over the past year. I actually found this bottle on the list of a chain steak house and for the price even in a setting as such was blown away. The value I can take it home for leaves nothing to ask for. It is a subtle blend that pairs well with just about anything. I also find it has a broad audience. I have yet to serve it and have a friend deny a refill. I chose the wine based on as you said their sparkling mastery, but this bottle deserves a look by serious wine drinkers and those just enjoying good things in life.

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More than happy to have your comments below. Thx.