The most famous grape you’ve never heard of, Pinot Meunier is a valued component in Champagne, indeed having the second-most acres planted there, after Pinot Noir, yet it is seldom seen on a wine label. Thought to be an early, distant mutation of Pinot Noir, it is the tenth most planted black grape in France and is especially useful growing on north-facing vineyards along the Marne Valley where it is a safer bet against spring frosts. Meunier brings a rustic, charming fruitiness to the Champagne triumvirate, and can deliver good sugar levels as well as the kind of acidity crucial in the production of superior sparkling wines. Seen occasionally as a monovarietal in some Champagnes, especially more recently as young growers buck the hegemony of the large Champagne houses. Of the large firms, Krug is most famous for its love of Meunier in some of its luxury blends.