Meiomi Pinot Noir Review [2021 Release Tasted & Rated]
Meiomi Pinot Noir is the brainchild of Joseph Wagner, a fifth-generation winemaker from the renowned Wagner family, (his parents founded the legendary Caymus Vineyards) who founded the Meiomi brand in 2006.
The name Meiomi (pronounced May-oh-mee) translates to "coast" in the native languages of the coastal-dwelling Wappo and Yuki tribes of California, which is quite fitting given the wine’s coastal roots.
Meiomi Pinot Noir has not just charmed the palates of many a casual wine drinker but also has a strong commercial presence, with its own TV commercial and over 168,000 reviews on Vivino.
Its success isn’t just a hit with the public; it’s also a commercial success.
Back in 2016, over 1.1 million cases were sold, showcasing the wine's soaring popularity.
The Meiomi name is now owned by Constellation Brands, who paid a reported $315 million in the deal.
The big question here is whether Meiomi Pinot Noir actually has any depth of character.
The cynic in me worries that a wine produced on such a large scale may lack any finesse whatsoever.
And a quick look at the average Vivino score over the years does nothing to address my concern.
The vintages show an alarmingly consistent decline in score over the years, as the sales volume has increased. The screenshot below shows the plummeting scores with the last two available years 2020 and 2021 being awarded all time low scores of 3.8 and 3.7.
Hmmm..... I better get tasting!
I paid $20 which is about standard. I've seen it a little cheaper before. For around twenty bucks there is some decent Californian Pinot Noir to be found so there's strong competition at this price point.
But, they sell so many bottles of Meiomi Pinot, it must be one of the best right?
It's much darker than your average Pinot Noir. In fact, it doesn't really look like Pinot. It's a dark ruby, almost purple color.
Pinot Noir wine is known for its light body and translucent appearance and this is almost opaque. It's more reminiscent of a full-bodied red like Cabernet Sauvignon.
A swirl in the glass uncovers more secrets. This Californian Pinot has substantial body judging by the way it coats the glass.
The nose hints at why. It's very sweet and jammy smelling, indicating some sugar in the wine.
Jammy fruit is apparent in the beginning. Black cherry and light plum dominate with some oak induced vanilla and spice coming through.
There's also a lighter red fruit note that took me a while to place. It's strawberry but it's not fresh, it's like a strawberry candy from my childhood. I end up on strawberry flavored Hubba Bubba (a bubble gum that was popular in my childhood). It had this artificial, sweet strawberry smell and that's what I get from the 2021 Meiomi Pinot Noir.
It's not an unpleasant smell at all, far from it actually! But, is this an aroma that I'm happy finding in a Pinot Noir? In a word, no.
It doesn't look like it should, it doesn't really smell like it should, but it could still taste great. I keep telling myself this before going in for a sip. I mean this is one of the most popular Californian Pinots ever made!
Sadly, there aren't any surprises on the palate. It tastes like I was lead to believe.
The jammy fruit notes of black cherry and plum come through strong. As does the vanilla and spice from the oak. It ends on that strawberry bubble gum note which lingers, but not really in a good way. The finish is long but sweet, too sweet.
The texture of the wine is rich, dense and full. This doesn't feel like Pinot Noir in the mouth and it's because of the residual sugar. Did I say this tasted sweet?
There's very little acidity either, which is very un-Pinot Noir-like, and if ever a Pinot needed more acidity it's this syrupy bottle here.
The tannins are nicely integrated, very silky and smooth. They've done well here. But, for me, the overall balance of the wine is off. It's like they've sacrificed basic characteristics that make Pinot Noir amazing, in order to make a middle of the road wine for the masses.
It’s a wine that has found a broad audience, especially in the U.S., thanks to its approachable and consistent profile.
And I get the appeal. It’s a very approachable wine. Jammy fruits, smooth tannins, light acidity. It's very smooth and goes down very easily.
I see why people that maybe don’t try a lot of different wines would enjoy this one. It’s a mass market crowd-pleaser and it does its job well.
But, it’s sweet, it really is. Honestly, I’m struggling with calling this a dry wine.
Is this really any better than your standard mass market wine like Yellowtail or Jacob’s Creek?
At $20, Meiomi certainly thinks it is. I agree to an extent, but it's not $10-$15 better like they've priced it.
For me, this is way overpriced. There is better Pinot Noir to be found for $20, much better.
Take the Kirkland Russian River Valley I reviewed in our last video. It was a little inconsistent, but I’d choose that at $13 over this any day of the week.
So, a score...
I am giving the 2021 Meiomi Pinot Noir a score of 6/10.
It loses points for the lack of value and an overly sweet flavor profile which I found to be unenjoyable.
There is undeniably a huge market for wine like this and people that don't drink a lot of wine and maybe prefer cocktails and mixers would enjoy this.
However, if you like Pinot Noir, you should definitely give this a miss.