This week’s wine news: Big Wine scores with Meomi, plus the terroir debate and – shudder– blue wine
• Meomi success: Many of my colleagues continue to wonder what the fuss is about with Big Wine, since they don’t drink any of its products. So perhaps this item, from the Shanken News Service (subscription required) will help them understand. Sales of Meomi, which is the pinot noir that they love to hate, grew almost 40 percent last year to 1.1 million cases. Not coincidentally, Constellation Brands, the second-biggest wine company in the country, bought Meomi in 2015. Since then, sales have almost doubled, attesting to Big Wine’s clout in the marketplace and why we need to know what it does and how it does it. Because its brands are the ones that may displace the brands that we’re drinking.
.• Whither terroir? Bianca Bosker in Food & Wine offers an intelligent, balanced view of whether terroir – the idea that wine depends on a sense of place – exists. This debate has been going on for as long as I have been writing about wine, and each side is more entrenched than ever. The Wine Curmudgeon believes in terroir, because wine from Rioja in Spain should taste like it comes from there, just as wine from Napa Valley should taste like it comes from Napa. But technology has made the anti-terroir argument more tenable – no one pretends that Meomi, for instance, is terroir driven. It’s made to taste a certain way, using the most advanced winemaking techniques, and to appeal to the broadest swath of the marketplace. All I ask is that we know the difference, and judge the wines accordingly.
• Orange wine wasn’t enough: How about blue wine, from Spain’s Gik? It’s supposed to be a combination of red and white grapes, “sweeter and easier to drink.” The Wine Curmudgeon hates to rain on Gik’s parade, but we already have something like that. It’s called white zinfandel, and save for the shade of blue, it’s sweeter and easier to drink — and sales are from what they used to be. But what do I know? I just drink wine; I don’t market it.