Pinot Meunier distinguishes itself for the downy white underside of its leaves, flour powdered like, thus the name “meunier” which is French word for miller. It has early budding and ripening, but it usually blossoms later and matures earlier than Pinot Noir being therefore less prone to winter frosts and millerandage, and more fruitful. Pinot Meunier prefers calcareous, rich in clay soils, showing endurance to chlorosis. However it is prone to grapevine moth and botrytis cinerea.
Pinot Meunier wines result more fruity and have an earlier ripening cycle than Pinot Noir. It is not usual to find single-variety sparkling wines produced with Pinot Meunier, as it is usually blended with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, though some wineries develop excellent examples of 100% Pinot Meunier as François Bedel, Egly-Ouriet, Georges Laval, Jérôme Prévost and Krug.