We’re here to praise Meiomi, not bury it. In an age where wines with rampant volatile acidity (ie. “why does this taste like vinegar”) are treated as the height of modern winemaking, we’re going to do that rare thing in vindom—nod to consumer’s actual tastes. And people love the lush opulence of Meiomi. So with Thanksgiving just around the corner, let’s use that as a base to push the palate just a little bit, and find a few pinots that echo some of Meiomi’s richness but also have a bit more acidity to help them pair with turkey or ham.
Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 $28
Once upon a time the Russian River Valley was the epitome of the big fruit take on Pinot Noir. But then came the velvet hammer of Meoimi—all the fruit, all the softness amped to 11—and now the classic Sonoma appellation looks downright subdued. A case in point is this bottle from Rod Strong (as my old boss Hank Gillespie used to call his dancer turned winemaker pal): it’s lush, but gets a nice lift from a line of acidity that will help it battle that extra dollop of gravy. For a Pinot Noir from Cali, that’s actually from a real appellation, this is a nicely priced treat.
Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2017 $35
The Wyse family have carved out a niche as one of the Okanagan’s most consistent purveyors of the high end, but lost in the fawning over their Syrahs and Cabernets is what a good job they do with Pinot. I was reminded of this recently when I pulled a bottle of the 2014 from my cellar and it was a delight. Opulent, with cola and cherries, but subdued with a few years of bottIe age, I would have mistaken this for the cult Cali producer Williams Seylem if I had tasted it blind. Give the 2017 a 2-hour decant to try to mimic the bottle age and mellow the fruit a touch.
Siduri Russian River 2017 $52
I remember my first visit to Siduri years ago with their bare bones tasting room in an Occidental, CA industrial park. They’ve since been purchased by Jackson Family wines but they still have their outsider ethos firmly in place. The Russian River is on the opulent end of their Pinots, but they do some whole cluster fermentation which gives the wine some earthy grip and ballast to counter the ripe fruit. It’s got a wonderful balance that will win over even die-hard Burgundians.