Easy-drinking pinot meunier, the other pinot grape

Pinot meunier is gaining popularity as a light-bodied, low-tannin, early-drinking red.
Pinot meunier is gaining popularity as a light-bodied, low-tannin, early-drinking red. Photo: iStock

 Pinot meunier is normally used for sparkling wine. It's the workhorse grape of Champagne, where it's blended with pinot noir and chardonnay. A close relative of pinot noir, it has similar traits in a lighter framework, but is seldom bottled as a standalone red wine. Best's of Great Western has been making it as a red wine for more than 50 years, and it's gaining new popularity as a light-bodied, low-tannin, early-drinking red in the Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley and other cool regions. Sometimes, the grapes are repurposed from sparkling wine vineyards. Along with gamay, pinot meunier is part of a trend towards lighter, food-friendly, early-drinking reds.

Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Pinot Meunier 2019, Henty $36

Score: 91

The colour is translucent medium red-purple, the bouquet reserved but gently fragrant, evoking cherry, spice and smoky oak aromas. It's medium-light bodied and quite intense, with a lean elegance and a very light tannin backbone. A charming wine. Screw-cap; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to seven years.

Stockists include: seppelt.com.au

Hungerford Hill Pinot Meunier 2019, Tumbarumba $40

Score: 90

The colour is light red-purple and it has a fresh perfume of cherry, spice and violets, decidedly whole-bunchy but fragrant and not green. It's bright and very clean: a delicious light-bodied red, with similarities to gamay – like a lighter Beaujolais. Superfine, gentle tannins. It's ready to enjoy. Screw-cap; 13 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to six years.

Stockists include: Walsh Bay Wine Cellar, Sydney & Midway Cellars, Denistone East (NSW); Candamber, Weston (ACT); City Wine Shop, Melbourne (Vic), hungerfordhill.com.au

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De Bortoli Vinoque Same Same Pinot Meunier Pinot Noir 2018, Yarra Valley $25

Score: 90

The colour is medium-full red-purple, the aromas of fresh raspberry with a touch of foresty complexity. The palate is fruit-sweet and lush, light to medium-weight, with soft, fine-grained tannins that are barely evident. A delicious early-drinking young red with appealing pinoty character. Screw-cap; 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? Drink now to four years.

Stockists include: Summer Hill Wine Shop (NSW); Piedimonte's IGA, Fitzroy North (Vic)