James Rahn Wine 2015 Pinot Meunier

Try the newbies!

James Rahn is one busy guy. When he’s not running the wine program at Portland’s Departure Restaurant or consulting on wine lists around town, he makes wine at the Southeast Wine Collective. His focus is on single-vineyard wines with minimal additions or manipulations.

When I asked him if he considered himself a “natural wine” winemaker, he laughed. Yes, he believes himself to be making wine in the most natural way he can but he doesn’t like the trappings – or the confusion – behind the “natural wine” label. He greatly admires the winemakers in Oregon who are pioneers of the movement but would rather be known simply as a good winemaker.

For two decades, James has pushed well-known restaurants around the country to “try newbies!” – wines they may not have tried before from small producers. As he says, those small winemakers “have a vision that comes from managing a 100-case production rather than a 100,000-case production, so that’s their baby. And that wine, for better or worse, has more personality than the majority of large-production wines. I believe that wholeheartedly.” We agree!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

James Rahn Wine, Portland, Oregon
2015 Pinot Meunier

Whoa! Who is that masked man? Why, it’s a Pinot Meunier!

This is exciting stuff. Five centuries in, Pinot Meunier may be one of the most widely-grown varietals in France, but very few casual wine drinkers have ever heard of it. One simple reason: It’s the third wheel in a traditional Champagne, alongside its better known cousins Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In a sparkling wine, the Pinot Meunier brings in a lush and aromatic fruit quality.

But here, we’re drinking it all alone as a lovely red wine.

The Pinot Meunier has a tartness and deeper, more blue fruit quality than its Pinot Noir cousin and can be surprisingly meaty. It is a unique mix of savory and sweet with a kick of spice thrown in. Pair it with that charcuterie plate, especially the aged or blue cheeses you love. Just 98 cases from James Rahn.

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2018, Environmentally Thoughtful Wines Willamette Valley | Pinot Meunier

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