2016 Poe Wines, Sparkling Pinot Meunier Rosé, Van Der Kamp Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain.
This new disgorgement of pure Meunier is an outstanding Brut style bubbly from Poe Wines with a gorgeous and seductive delicate color, mineral intensity and luxurious mouse showing round and earthy flavors that make this sparkling Rosé very distinct. Showing a mix of tart and savory red fruits with cherry, strawberry and raspberry water leading the way along with leesy brioche, blood orange rind and wet stones. Winemaker Samantha Sheehan, of Poe Wines, makes a lovely set of handcrafted wines that were inspired by her travels to Europe and especially her time in Champagne and Burgundy, she produces traditional Champagne method sparkling wines, a Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and even a nouveau from Pinot Noir as well as a limited set of Vermuth(s) all of which are outstanding and individual bottlings. As noted in prior reviews of Sheenan’s unique Pinot Meunier offerings, Meunier accounts for a third of the vines planted in the Champagne region, though incredibly rare here in California with only some small plantings in Sonoma County, Carneros and Monterey County that I know of. Until recent years, Meunier didn’t have a good reputation, but that has really changed in Champagne with stellar versions of single varietal bottlings proving the quality of this grape. Historically Meunier served the purpose of providing early ripening fruitiness and mouthfeel to the wines of the Champagne region that sometimes suffers from poor weather, though in recent years Meunier has become cool kid in town and some of the best grower producers are using it to craft awesome versions, in particular Benoit Déhu, Cedric Mousse and Aurelien Laherte of Laherte Frères Champagne, which this wine remind me of, which is high praise.

The Pinot Meunier from the Van der Kamp Vineyard that lies at the very top of Sonoma Mountain, on a mix of soils, including Sonoma volcanic (which gives some nice mineral and spicy influence here) and gravelly stones, at close to 1,400 feet elevation, it looks down on the historic little town of Glen Ellen to the east and the Bennett Valley to the northwest. The vintage, grower producer style, Meunier Rosé bubbly was fermented in neutral French oak barrels with 100% native yeasts and without the addition of sulfur. Samantha adds that after primary fermentation, she kept the sulfur extremely low and allowed this Rosé to rest for the next 11 months in barrel before putting it into bottle for sparkling fermentation, where It was aged another almost three years on the lees before being disgorged. This Sparkling Rosé by Sheehan hits all the right cords and is one of the best grower fizz style hand crafted wines available, joining Michael Cruse and Caraccioli in the Champagne style elite, here in California. The latest Meunier is certainly alluring and complex with fine balance and lingers well on the finish, gaining depth and layering with air, really goes great with food and should be enjoyed during a meal, it has the structure and presence to hold up to many cuisines. The mouth feel is generous and the bubbles are very fine allowing this Meunier to show all of its character and purity, even letting a faint floral perfume come through in this beauty of a bubbly, there’s a lot to enjoy here. In recent years, Sheehan has excelled at these Sparkling wines, especially when using these organic Van Der Kamp grapes, like in this pure Meunier, but I also highly recommend her exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well, in particular I suggest trying the Manchester Ridge, cool climate, examples as well as her still version of Meunier.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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