By Terry Sweeney
Every so often a Pinot Noir comes along that you just know you shouldn’t get mixed up with. It’s just too luscious and velvety. Its undertones of vanilla and leather are too hard to forget. And the price under $20—too good to pass up. What is the name of this garnet temptress? Meomi (pronounced May-OH-Mee), which according to the back of the bottle means “coast” in the language of the California Wappo tribe. Oh really? That’s what the Indians told you, white man. I think much more likely it means “toast” because that’s what you are after—a bottle or two of this stuff. Maybe “Wappo’s Revenge” is actually a better name for this irresistible elixir.
Of course “coast” is appropriate in that it is a blend from three of the coolest growing regions along California’s lengthy Pacific border: Monterey County, Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County. Each region lends its own succulent tones and aromas. The ripe beautiful berries of Sonoma, the spice and silkiness of Santa Barbara and Monterey’s lush earthy terroir; all so perfectly balanced that the words Me-Oh-My just naturally pop out of your mouth with your very first sip and again when you are down to the last drop in the bottle.
This wine may have spent nine months in French Oak Barrels, but it spends about nine minutes in my house before it’s gone. A friend of mine who was on the Interstate called on her way back to my house. She was cranky and had cramps so I think we all know what time of the month it was. When I picked up, all she could manage were three desperate whispered words, “Meomi…Get Meomi.”
See that’s the thing about this wine. You think about it. You crave it. You can almost smell its seductive aromas of cola, blackberries and that unforgettable sweet note of cedar beckoning you. Leave me alone, Meomi! Go drive somebody else crazy! Once I bought a case of the stuff so I could have it on hand to dazzle friends and show off. Well my friends were dazzled alright. Six hours later their ruby-stained lips were still asking for more and the next morning their car was still in our driveway where they had left it. Their walk of shame back to my house said it all—Meomi! To this day when I’m invited to their house for dinner and offer to bring a bottle of wine, the wife still hastily blurts out, “Anything but Meomi. We have to go to work in the morning!” I totally understand. Before you know it, Meomi is doing the dance of the seven veils on your tongue and bedeviled, you’re sticking $20 bills in her g-string. Nooooo not again!
I’m not even going to tell you how beautifully Meomi pairs with pork. (Uh oh, I just told you.) There isn’t a pig anywhere that doesn’t tremble with fear and head for the nearest pigsty to hide when it hears the turn of Meomi’s screw-top.
Now I hope I’ve scared you off this bug juice, and the next time I go to the liquor store I won’t hear how (quite to the contrary) they are sold out of Meomi. It certainly would not be good for business to see a grown man in the parking lot dabbing at his weepy eyes with a hanky and muttering to himself, “Me-oh-my! Me-oh-my! Me-oh-my!”