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.
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