Sunday, March 27, 2005

2003 Pinot Meunier, Lake Breeze Vineyards

Walking through the vineyards of the Naramata Bench, it's easy to pick out the occasional lot of Pinot Meunier. The leaves of the vines appear as though they've been dusted with a little flour which relates to the principal translation of 'meunier' as 'miller' in English.

This grape is a stalwart of the Champagne industry and by some estimates is the number one grape in that region by tonnage, exceeding its more famous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir cousins.

Occasionally, wine makers will use it to produce a red still wine. It never quite reaches the lofty heights of Pinot Noir but can result in a pleasantly fruity wine that drinks well young.

Garron Elmes at Lake Breeze Vineyards on the Naramata Bench does a stand-up version of PM.
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The colour is as expected; don't look for Shiraz purple. The clarity is brilliant. There are fresh berry flavours like strawberry and raspberry that yield to some light spice notes. It's a light bodied red; I suspect it would mesh well with summer foods off the BBQ but avoid thick, spicy sauces and over-powering vinaigrette. I'd definitely consider popping it into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to keep the fruit aspects lively. The nose has some mushroom and earth; some wine drinkers may need to stretch their perspectives a bit to accommodate these nuances. It finishes a little dry taken without food. It's something I'd stock for drinking this season with a few bottles in reserve to see how time treats it. 14.5 / 20 Buy

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