I recently carried on/geeked out about all of the different varietals that you’ll find planted in the vineyards of Champagne.
Now’s when I put some of those “factoids” to more practical use. Here is a great (albeit) pretty unusual champagne, as it is composed entirely of Pinot Meunier..
Wine: Bruno Michel “Cuvee Clement”
Composition: 100% Pinot Meunier
Style: Blanc de Noirs
Sub-Region: Vallee de la Marne
Geology/Soil: Topsoil: Marl, lignite, sandy-loam, clay. Subsoil: Belemnite chalk
Importer: Premier Wines
US Retail: $55
Food: Foie Gras, roasted chicken with mushrooms, earthy, pungent cow’s milk cheeses.
What a great example of Pinot Meunier, that most grounded of varietals that often is relegated to third wheel status in the Champagne hierarchy. Bruno Michel’s “Cuvee Clement” comes from one specific plot called the “9 Arpents” in the village of Moussy in the Vallee de la Marne. The echelle de cru rating for this village is 89%.
The average vine age in the “9 Arpents” is approximately 70 years, which pre-dates the systematic planting of cloned vines in the region. This most unusual 100% Pinot Meunier exclusively from the 2000 vintage is truly a labor of love from Bruno Michel that exudes both complexity and character. The “Cuvee Clement” wine made an appearance on an early posting of mine (think funghi), and when I tasted it I knew instantly that I wanted to shout more about it. Please keep in mind, this “gusty” champagne is not one that I would recommend for quaffing, or your next bachelor/bachelorette party. Nope, this, if I can say, hearty bubbly is best saved for your next dinner party with more substantial earthbound dishes that merit a most unusual and excellent wine. Think chicken in cream sauce with morel mushrooms, or monkfish liver /ankimo otherwise known as “le foie gras de la mer”.
Although rich, nutty and substantial in its own right, its high acidity will cut through the richness/oiliness of such dishes, cleanse your palate, and prepare you to take that second bite!