Pinot Meunier is a variety of black wine grape most noted for being one of the three main varieties used in the production of Champagne (the other two are the black variety Pinot noir and the white Chardonnay).
Until recently, producers in Champagne generally did not acknowledge Pinot Meunier, preferring to emphasise the use of the other noble varieties, but now Pinot Meunier is gaining recognition for the body and richness it contributes to Champagne.
Pinot Meunier is approximately one-third of all the grapes planted in Champagne and was first mentioned in the 16th century, and gets its name and synonyms (French Meunier and German Müller – both meaning miller) from flour-like dusty white down on the underside of its leaves. Compared to Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier produces lighter colored wines with slightly higher acid levels but can maintain similar sugar and alcohol levels. As part of a standard champagne blend, Pinot Meunier contributes aromatics and fruity flavors to the wine. Champagnes with a substantial proportion of Pinot Meunier tend not to have as much significant aging potential as champagnes that are composed primarily of Chardonnay or Pinot noir. It is therefore most commonly used for champagnes that are intended to be consumed young, when the soft, plushy fruit of the Pinot Meunier is at its peak. A notable exception is the Champagne house of Krug which makes liberal use of Pinot Meunier in its long-lived prestige cuvees.
And considering the amount of good quality Champagne that is spilled, sprayed or just wasted in Marbella during the summer months, the least the Champagne sprayers of Puerto Banus can do is actually have a reasonable knowledge of what they are throwing round the place.
Thanks to Brads Wine for some more interesting wine facts.