Pinot Meunier is one of the three grape varieties used to produce traditional Champagne, where it brings richness, body and longer aging potential to sparkling wines. Approximately one-third of all the grapes planted in Champagne are Pinot Meunier. It is a chimeric mutation of Pinot: its inner cell layers are composed of a Pinot genotype which is close to Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris; the outer, epidermal, layer is however made up of a mutant, distinctive, genotype. Meunier translates to “miller”, which is the dusty white flour-like hairs found on the underside of the grape’s leaves. Rarely bottled on its own, this varietal shines in the cooler climates like Sonoma County, so this month we bring you two rosés featuring this grape.
Region/Country of Origin: The wine is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir from the Manchester Ridge vineyard located on Mendocino Ridge. The Pinot Meunier, which accounts for 34% of the blend, is from the Van der Kamp Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. This vineyard has been farmed for over 100 years as well, and is comprised of Speckles loam, Volcanic Tuff and decomposed streambed.
Winemaker: Samantha Sheehan
About the Winery: Samantha Sheehan founded POE in 2009 after being inspired by the wines she tasted in Burgundy and Champagne. The goal is not to replicate Burgundy, but rather create alluring, vineyard specific, age-worthy wines revealing the beautiful terroir of California. There is minimal intervention, judicious use of sulfur, and never any additives.
POE produces traditional Champagne method sparkling wines, rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a nouveau from Pinot Noir. Each wine is made in very limited quantities, and sold directly from the winery and to high-end restaurants around the country.
About the Winemaking: Our rosé is 100% "direct to press", as opposed to from saignée. We hand harvest the grapes at night, and pressed them lightly first thing in the morning. The pressed juice was transferred into a stainless steel tank where it was fermented naturally at 48 degrees for 3 weeks. The cold fermentation preserved the nuance and aromatics. We inhibited malolactic fermentation, and sterile filtered the wine so it would not go through malolactic in bottle. It was bottled on January 20th.
Tasting Notes: This is a lovely light bright and poised style of rosé with aromas of rose petal, grapefruit and light stone fruits with apricot being the predominate player. The palate is light yet poised with moderate acid light floral notes with apricot and strawberry in equal parts
Suggested Food Pairings: Grilled ham and cheese sandwich, Cubano sandwich, Fried Chicken
Price per bottle/case: $24.00/btl, $259.20/case
Region/Country of Origin: Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Winemaker: Rick Davis
About the Winemaker: Rick Davis started Calstar Cellars in 2001 with the goal of producing exclusive, hand-crafted wines with a food-friendly focus. Rick has spent 20 years improving his process through experiences with Flowers Winery under Winemaker, Greg LaFollette, and as Consulting Winemaker with Londer Vineyards (2005-2011), Halleck Vineyards, La Czar Vineyards, and Alcina Cellars and developed Calstar Cellars, his own label, as an extension of these relationship.
About the Winemaking: Calstar Cellars is named after Callie and Star, two of my wife's studio cats (she is a ceramics artist) who were around when I was started the label in 1999. Rick selects the highest quality fruit from award winning vineyards with site-specific character in Northern California. The grapes were harvested last October and the juice was fermented in 80% Stainless steel/ 20% neutral barrels. It was bottled on 3/1/19.
Tasting Notes: Brilliant salmon rosy pink in the glass. Lovely aromas of strawberry, fresh stone fruit, pineapple and key lime jump out of the glass. Hints of wet rock and lemon blossom add complexity and round out the nose. Delightfully dry with laser-sharp acidity, this vintage is light and nimble on the palate. Flavors of strawberry and raspberry dance across the mouth supported by a grapefruit-skin finish that ties it all together and begs for another sip. Bright rosy; fruity strawberry aroma in the nose; gentle berry notes on the palate; light and harmonic, fresh structure.
Suggested Food Pairing: Citrus Salad, Cheese and Charcuterie Plates, Shellfish and oysters, Roasted Chicken with herbs
Price per bottle/price per case: $19.00/btl, $205.20/case