Pinot Meunier is primarily used as an important part of the blend in top quality sparkling wines and Champagnes. It takes its name for the dusting of white hairs on the underside of its leaves that looks like flour (meunier is a French word for miller). Budding later but ripening earlier than Pinot Noir it is more productive and less susceptible to winter frosts.
Pinot Meunier has more acidity and contributes a fruity freshness to most sparkling wine blends. In Champagne it is grown with success in the Marne Valley. Where it is planted in the rest of the world, it is usually to imitate the Champagne model so plantings can be found in Australia (Tasmania), New Zealand and California.