Champagne floats on three main grape varieties. Of these, chardonnay and pinot noir usually take most of the credit, but what about pinot meunier? Enthusiast Huib Edixhoven breaks a lance for the hardest-working grape of all.
- TEXT HUIB EDIXHOVEN | IMAGE EDITORS
Champagnes most own grape: Pinot Meunier
Champagne. The word alone has an invigorating effect. If this illustrious name is mentioned, backs are courted and ears are pricked. Indeed, a Pavlov reaction of the purest kind is often the result. The true aficionado will unmistakably experience a watering mouth upon hearing this name or at the sound of the distinctive popping cork. Champagne may have a big name, but much less honour is bestowed on the grapes at the base of this famous wine. You may be lucky if the back label mentions the grape variety or varieties in your just-purchased champagne. In itself, of course, this is very French. Almost all classic quality French regions bear the name of the region rather than the name of the grapes used. Chablis, Sancerre, Pomerol and Châteauneuf-du-Pape; the examples are endless.
Still, the grape is, of course, the flavour maker of the wine. Without the right fruit, the winemaker is nowhere. The grape may not appear on the label, but winemakers around the world, and especially in France, like to elaborate widely on the superior fruit at the base of their beloved product. In Champagne, it is no different.
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