A Beginner’s Guide to Meiomi Wine
Many leading wine labels have a long history, with the vineyards and practices dating back many decades or more.
That’s not the case with Meiomi; only established in 2006 it’s very much the new kid on the block.
Despite seeming to emerge almost overnight, the quality of Meiomi wines means that almost a cult following has developed.
Originally rebuffed by wine connoisseurs, those in the industry have been forced to acknowledge that the Meiomi winery is here to stay.
Meiomi is Backed by a Dynasty of Winemakers
Meiomi may seem to have appeared out of nowhere but no-one becomes an expert in winemaking by accident.
The founder of Meiomi is Joe Wagner but he learned the trade working for his father at Caymus Vineyards, a winery that sprang into life in 1972.
If you haven't heard of Caymus wines then I'm surprised. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly popular (and expensive).
Their wines are actually the source of some debate these days. The Caymus brand has become massive and they are accused of letting their winemaking standards drop in the process. A similar accusation could actually be levied at the extremely popular Meiomi.
Joe Wagner started Meiomi in 2006 and by 2009, the Pinot Noir was being sold commercially in vast quantities.
More wines were added to the Meiomi stable and the brand became a huge hit with consumers. The lack of longevity in the brand together with the use of a screw cap – the horror! – meant that Meiomi was ignored by many experts and upper-class wine sellers for some time.
Recommended Reading: Don't miss our guide to Amarone wine next!
However, as review after review was forced to grudgingly admit that Meiomi was actually a very good wine, the industry began to embrace the brand (I say "was" because it's no longer a nice wine. Just look at how the Vivino ratings decrease) .
In 2015 Joe Wagner surprised everyone by agreeing to sell Meiomi to Constellation for a reported $315 million, staying on for the first couple of years as a consultant.
Constellation may not be a household name, but they own armfuls of famous alcohol brands including both wines and spirits.
Meiomi wine is made in California, making the most of the glorious coastal air. The vineyards in this coastal area offer a beautiful balance of the elements which contributes to a richness and complexity in the wines produced.
There are three main vineyards in the Meiomi collection:
With a unique blend of microclimates, Sonoma is acknowledged as being one of the best wine growing regions in the world.
Ancient activity from volcanoes has created a rocky soil which places stress on the growth of the vine. Far from being a negative factor, this produces smaller fruit which are intensely flavored and bright.
Santa Barbera County
The fogs that drift in from the Pacific Ocean along with the soft sea breeze combine to create optimum growing conditions in this wonderful mountain valley. '
This allows the grapes to fully mature on the vine and due to a longer “hang time”, there are a superior amount of tannins, flavors and acids in the ripened fruit.
Hot inland temperatures are gently cooled by the ocean air in this Monterey Bay vineyard. This means that the grapes are never exposed to the full heat as temperatures are kept more moderate. This allows the fruit to ripen slowly and evenly, giving the distinctive Meiomi flavors.
THAT Pinot Noir
Although Meiomi have gone on to create many popular wines, it all started with their Pinot Noir.
However, it's incredibly popular and people buy it by the case (1.1 million cases were actually sold in 2016!).
It's one of the most reviewed wines on vivino.com with a whopping +168,000 ratings.
It also even has its own TV commercial.
More Wines in the Cellar
Although the Pinot Noir was the standout success, the company went on to produce a number of other critically acclaimed wines too.
Their Chardonnay took silver in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2017, a wine that first hit the shelves in 2014.
Once again produced with fruit from the same three vineyards, their Chardonnay is described as having a touch of custard with layers of lemon peel and pineapple accentuated by baking spices, honey and almonds.
The Meiomi Rose is another winner, combining rose petal with citrus and strawberry aromas. Grapefruit rind hits the palate along with hay, watermelon and the juiciness of strawberries, adding a splash of minerals to the last note.
A sparkling wine and a selection of special Reserve Pinot Noirs complete the stable currently available from Meiomi.