2014 Meiomi Chardonnay

Meiomi wine has been exceptionally good to us lately. This evening is another instance that echoes recent bottles we have had, both whites and reds, and I would encourage you to browse any of those reviews for context. It’s our first sampling of the 2014 vintage, and we picked a great meal with which to pair this aromatic white wine.

2014 Meiomi Chardonnay, California, USA.

2014 Meiomi Chardonnay, California, USA.

The food? Killer. A moonshot home run. You’re looking at a 2014 Meiomi Chardonnay next to Cod Kedgeree served over basmati rice, eggs, and frizzled onion. The lime garnish was a great touch too, softening the curry spices (a blend of kedgeree spices) and bringing some light refreshment to the dish. The result, courtesy of Blue Apron and a fun evening in the kitchen doing the prep work, was a mix of warm and cool, of spice and sweet. I’m not sure I’ve had a Chardonnay under better circumstances, all told.

The cod kedgeree in the prep stage.

The cod kedgeree in the prep stage.

As shared in previous Notes regarding Meiomi, the winemaker sources these grapes from multiple AVAs throughout California and brings them together in a proprietary blend. There is some orange in the aromas, some other citrus fruits, and a luscious mouthfeel. It sounds weird to observe that it tastes liquid, or solid, but both kind of make sense as I reflect back on the 2014 now. Some thoughtful planning had two bottles of the 2014 on hand as we started in on this adventure, and when we finished the first we had #2 primed and ready.

Though we do prefer the 2013 to the 2014 Meiomi, the latter made for quite a fantastic dining (cooking too!) experience.

2014 Mark West Pinot Noir Black

Notes has chronicled more than a single bottle of Mark West over the years; our favorite wine store in New Jersey often stocked it and gave us ample opportunity to sample with all manner of foodstuffs. A quick glance back at our archives says more than five vintages have been covered herein. Never before, however, had I seen this “Dark” variation and was intrigued as to its potential.

2014 Mark West Pinot Noir Black, Monterey County, California, USA.

2014 Mark West Pinot Noir Black, Monterey County, California, USA.

I had sort of drifted away from the West Pinot in recent months. I find winemaker Jason Becker’s “signature” Pinot to be slightly lacking in muscle, a light red that skipped some of the subtleties of good California grapes–almost like “diet” Pinot Noir. That being said, even the hint of a darker red in the Black label was promising and raised my eyebrow. Immediately I knew I had to give it a go much like I did the Apothic Dark when stumbling onto it in Chicago last year.

I uncorked it first on Friday after a travel week but am polishing it off tonight–mostly with a London broil and a peas and carrots medley. The vegetables are not the highlight of the meal, to be sure. I’m happy to share it’s the Black that holds the spotlight this evening.

It’s got much better legs than the ‘original’ Mark West, and packs in blackberry smells in abundance. This wine is a far cry from a Cab or deeper red, but also more saturated than a traditional Pinot. You get a whiff of vanilla too–faint but definitely present. Good swirl in your glass and mouthfeel for an affordable red. Becker, who uses the Saignée method of winemaking here, describes the flavor as “ripe black plums and blackberries along with mocha notes…” and ages this line extension in French and Hungarian oak barrels.

I’m glad I gave this Pinot Noir a try and definitely prefer it to the classic Mark West. Give it a go and taste for yourself.

2014 Meiomi Pinot Noir

I’m of two minds on the Meiomi Pinot Noir. On one hand, this wine is ubiquitous in wine stores across the U.S., and Notes has covered it on several prior occasions. So has the mainstream wine media, and writing about this wine feels almost passe.

On the other hand, it’s friggin’ great. This is the 2014 vintage of a Pinot Noir that just might be my second favorite. I’m tempted to look back on all the Pinots we’ve covered here for the sake of comparison, and I know it’s solidly placed on the list behind only my favorite Buena Vista offerings.

2014 Meiomi Pinot Noir, California, USA.

2014 Meiomi Pinot Noir, California, USA.

Its black and red berry scents, much richer than a typical Pinot, help set it apart right away. It’s more than just the light strawberry you often get, the whiff of vanilla, in a less polished Pinot. Joe Wagner culls fruit from three different California counties to weave together blackberries, cherries, and a little something leathery in the 2014 Meiomi. Oh yeah, and it does still have some soft notes of strawberry and vanilla if you’re into such things. We had the Meiomi with steaks and asparagus, and worked our way right through the wine.

Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Monterey all share a role in this very successful outcome. I’m sure that certain high-brow wine folks look down on the Meiomi for its mass production, but it’s a great thing that the Wagners have found a way to combine exquisite tastes with affordability in this bottle. Who likes an elitist, anyways?

For the vineyard’s own tasting notes, simply click here–and enjoy. As for us? We’re on next to Valentine’s Day and another Meiomi.

2013 Chardonnay, Meiomi Wines

The Meiomi Pinot Noir gets a lot of attention from wine enthusiasts (this one included), and for good reason. It’s a fantastic wine, and it is well represented in Notes if you wanted to search for such reviews. What I didn’t know was that Wagner also had a comparable white blend in their Chardonnay.

2013 Meiomi Chardonnay, Meoimi Wines

2013 Meiomi Chardonnay, Meoimi Wines, St. Helena, California, USA.

The Meiomi Chardonnay (this one is obviously a 2013) is, like their red, a blend of grapes sourced from Santa Barbara (49%), Sonoma (30%), and Monterrey (21%) coastal counties. That mixture infuses a wide variety of interesting tastes in this white, which is not overly oaky  or buttery but rather characterized by some crisp apple-like fruits and some mineral undertones. Not quite what you’d expect from a wine that does some time aging in French oak. My wife and I both enjoyed, which is pretty high praise if you know us.

Thus did the 2013 Meiomi Chardonnay launch our house into Friday evening, the end of the year’s first work week. The stemware was ready and served up our drinks during the cocktail hour as well as during dinner–which consisted of two types of ravioli. Delicious dinner and wine for us both*.

My wife picked out this bottle, and we are likely to put it more frequently in the rotation over the coming year with pasta, fish, and the helluv it. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we did.

*Note that mine also consisted of more Wagner family wine

2013 Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay

This is the second Noble Vines wine we’ve had in recent weeks, this one a white–not a frequent Saturday night beverage in our house but one to which we both surrendered this evening.  In the interest of time I’ll explain that the 446 originates from the San Bernabe AVA, one termed the “cool climate Monterey” by the winemaker.

Your label on the 446 gives simple instructions – “Enjoy with grilled fish, chicken or pasta with creamy sauces.” And we did. Tuna steaks, so fresh and tender, we had alongside orzo pasta, peas, and asparagus. The pasta and vegetables were a contrast in styles and tastes, intertwining hot and cool elements into a great accent for the fish.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

2013 Nobel Vines 446 Chardonney, Monterey, California, USA.

Fresh citrus is the best way, in my limited vocabulary and experience with whites, that I can describe the 2013 vintage of the 446. It doesn’t have a “buttery” taste to it, and in that way is similar to the Simi that we had not too long ago.  In Notes for both I find myself struggling for specifics, for nuances that help differentiate among California Chardonnays and am determined to improve on my palate so as to offer more useful advice on whites in the future.

This is not that occasion, though, so let me close simply by saying it brought a smile to my face to know we both were giving a go to the 446 on this sultry Summer evening. Hoping you and yours had a good Saturday too!

2013 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir

This week, a record-breaking scorcher for June (or Hell, for that matter), I found myself craving Pinot Noir as I thought about a good red to wedge its way through the heat. The 667 from the Delicato family answered the call, first with a down home Thursday meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn, and again tonight with grilled steaks and crispy crowns.

2013 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir, Monterey, California, USA.

2013 Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir, Monterey, California, USA.

The 667 Pinot Noir is a bit deeper in color than the Buena Vista on which I often comment (see here, and here, and others that should be in the Related Posts below), and it had a little more of a cherry vibe instead of a strawberry taste. This Pinot Noir, harvested and produced in Monterey, California, also has some earthiness to it and vanilla too. I know, I know–since when does this guy give a nod to vanilla? It works here. You get an easy finish, and ripe flavors that are very enjoyable. Thursday night is a “school night” so it took some restraint to have just a glass(ish) of the Noble Vines and leave the bottle for the weekend.

I read of the awards it’s won (i.e., the 2015 Monterey Wine Competition; 2015 Consumer Wine Awards; 2015 Toast of the Coast Wine Competition) and understood how the 667 performed so well. Several other Pinots are now here in the house so it’ll be some time before I get to circle back to this one, but that will be a good day too.