Meiomi Pinot Noir 2014

Very dark red-black color; berries and spice on the nose; big cherry bomb, blackberry, massive influence of oak, smooth texture, modest tannin, mediocre acidity on the palate.

Plush, lush, candified, jammy, clearly many grapes—many likely zin—make up a quarter of the wine (you only need 75% pinot noir grapes to label it pinot noir), massive production (700,000-plus cases a year), a Constellation Brands answer to Mark West. There are folks who will love this over-the-top fruity wine, and there will be pinot noir connoisseurs who will be appalled at this usurpation of the pinot noir name.

Constellation bought the brand from founder Joe Wagner for $315 million in 2015. This was restaurant-only play until 2008; it was a low-end pinot for the “value” side of a wine list that would sell for enough bucks that even disappointed sippers would not complain because they would not admit to being suckers.

Meiomi means “coast” in native Wappo and Yuki tribes. The wine comes from vineyards in Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara. Grapes likely are not the vineyards’ best, but the excess from their over-production parcels.

This is not insufferable plonk, but it is not why you drink pinot noir. There is no delicacy, no nuance, no elegance. There is huge amount of oak used as pancake makeup to make up for the melange of mediocre grapes in this effort. Good pinot noir is Audrey Hepburn. This is female impersonator of Pamela Anderson. $20-22

Meiomi Winery website

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2014