Like Meiomi? Five other Pinot Noirs to try...

Monday, November 23, 2020

Joe Wagner sold the Meiomi brand to Constellation Brands for $315 million in 2015. Some will say Meiomi doesn't drink like a Pinot Noir (too full-bodied) but its ripe, generous personality has drawn a loyal following.

I've enjoyed my share of Meiomi over the years for what it is. Sure, it's not a lithe terroir-driven wine that demands study but it is reliable and sometimes hits the spot.

A few friends are kind of "stuck" on Meiomi as a sort of no brainer when they need to bring a bottle of wine to a party.  It got me to thinking what other wines might be similar as a pathway to further exploration -or- if you're just tired on Meiomi and looking for something different yet similar.

Boen California Pinot Noir

If I had to pick a wine that's "the new Meiomi" or "what Meiomi used to be" it's Boen. Boen is part of Wagner's Copper Cane family of wines, so you're getting the Wagner style here without the new corporate overlords.

Like Meiomi it comes broadly from Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara. These are arguably the best Pinot Noir counties in California, but the net is rather wide here. Boen absolutely drinks like Meiomi: Very aromatic, round and bold.

It retails for $24. I see it for $19.99 at most retailers.

Vennstone is similar to Boen, also made by Joe Wagner, also vaguely from three appellations.

You'll most commonly find it at Total Wine as a "Winery Direct" special. If you taste it and like it (it's just a step behind Boen for my taste) you can probably find a deal on it when Total runs a Winery Direct promo.

If you're looking for something a bit more restrained but still round and luscious, check out Elouan. It tastes like what it is: What Oregon Pinot Noir tastes like Joe Wagner style. The closest comparison point I can think of here is La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

If you like Meiomi and you're looking for "more" perhaps as a holiday splurge try the single vineyard Belle Glos wines. They're about as big as Pinot Noir can be, and when they're on they're amazing. Las Alturas is my favorite. Around $50 before discounts.

Here's the one wine on the list that's *not* a Wagner wine.

It comes from Jayson Woodbridge, winemaker at well-regarded Cabernet producer Hundred Acre. They also have single vineyard bottlings that go for around $50 retail, but the Three Counties is priced on par with Meiomi or less. The story sounds very similar to the Wagner Family of wines with Caymus as the Cabernet and Belle Glos as the Pinot Noir.

Cherry Pie Three Counties is a little more "tart" than Meiomi, and perhaps more varietally correct as a result. It's worth a try for a little variety and if you like it, check out their single vineyard bottlings like Stanly Ranch if you can find them around $35 after discounts.

Not a fan of the style?


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