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Great Wine: Meiomi Pinot Noir

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We are totally selling out by giving this wine a glowing review. We’re sinking to new lows to ingratiate ourselves to popular tastes and trends while blatantly sucking up to the big players in the wine business in a desperate attempt to win new followers. So, don’t believe anything we say. Our opinions can no longer be trusted and our integrity severely compromised by commercial self-interests. 

With that being said, the MEIOMI Pinot Noir, the hottest-selling $20 Pinot on the market today—a wine that can be found anywhere you look, from your snooty, boutique wine shop to your BevMo, grocery store or drugstore, and probably even your Chevron gas mart—is pretty fucking good, we’ve got to say. It’s the kind of wine we’re prepared to hate from the outset, but we’ll be damned, it’s such a likeable and pleasant Pinot that’s so easy to drink we can’t even pretend to write it off as some soulless corporate product meant for maximum consumption and ensuing profit. Heck, we respect this wine even more for being such a commercial success. It all begins with Joe Wagner, of the venerable Napa wine family responsible for Caymus, who sold his label for the sum of $315 million to Constellation Brands in 2015. Under the ownership of the global beverage conglomerate, production of this wine has exploded to over 700,000 cases per year. Even at wholesale prices, this is a $7 million wine. Damn, that’s impressive. Meiomi is the Fast & Furious franchise of the wine industry. It’s never going to be a sommelier’s darling (though some critics love it—Wine Spectator named this wine #20 on their Best of 2015 list, giving it 92 points), but the producers know what the people want and the wine packs solid entertainment value sequel after sequel (vintage). 

The 2015 bottling is a little on the sweet and ripe side, perfectly market-tested to please that contemporary palate. This is Pinot rich in boysenberry, ripe strawberry, Bing cherry and sweet spice flavors, but here’s the thing—it’s really well balanced. It’s not heavy and it’s very smooth. The magic is in the blend. Most wine back-labels are loaded with worked-over marketing copy, but Meiomi actually gets it right—the label tells you the part of the blend that comes from Monterey County brings texture, the part from Santa Barbara County brings spicy aromas, and the part from Sonoma County brings the bright berry flavors. 

This Pinot Noir is one of the great American success stories of recent times. We have to salute all the pieces of the puzzle that must fit together to create a hugely popular wine that meets mass production needs while maintaining high quality standards—from all the farmers involved in growing all of the grapes to the backroom accountants balancing the corporate ledger sheets. 

Don’t trust us when we say this is an excellent wine. You’re right to be skeptical of our motives, and we apologize for this review. But, we just had to do it.  –J.M.

 

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May 17, 2017

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