Wine Reviews: Merry Edwards

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-20-2020

Merry Edwards is an icon in California winemaking. She has a long history of blazing trails and making exceptional wine, from her days in the mid-70s working at Mount Eden, to becoming founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977, to creating her own consulting business and eventually her own eponymous wine brand in the 90s. Her well-deserved accolades are too many to list.

I’ve visited the Sonoma County winery several over the years, always tying it in with a visit to Joseph Swan, whose founder mentored Merry in the early days. Merry’s well-known Sauvignon Blanc has always excited me, but the single-vineyard Pinots and Chardonnay are what have kept me coming back to these wines year after year.

There have been some recent changes at Merry Edwards Winery. In 2018, Merry announced Heidi von der Mehden (who joined in 2015 as associate winemaker) would succeed her as winemaker, the first time anyone else held that position. Last year, the French firm Maison Louis Roederer purchased the winery. Despite these changes, I’m hoping the wines in the glass stay the same – delicious, exciting, memorable interpretations of their place. After tasting a few of their new releases, that sure seems to be the case.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2017 Merry Edwards Chardonnay Olivet Lane USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $72
Rich yellow color. Aromas of juicy yellow apple, apricot, lemon bars, with rich notes of hazelnut meeting chalky, oyster shell notes. On the palate, this is lush and creamy but sports vibrant acidity and a zippy, stony, chalky presence. Apricot, green apple, key lime pie, complex, harmonious fruit mixing with notes of almond, caramel, honey and sea salt. Pure, vibrant, delicious, I’d love to see this in three to five years. (92 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $48
Ripe dark cherry color. Really aromatic, with black cherry preserves, raspberry jam, with rose petals, clove, cola, warm clay. Medium+ bodied, fresh acidity, silky tannins, it has a ripe but crisp feel throughout. Black cherries and raspberries mix with cranberry jam, spiced tea, clove and earth. This is a fresh, complex, delicious Pinot that covers a lot of different bases. (91 points)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot NoirUSA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $55
Deep ruby color. Smells of juicy cherries, red plums, red licorice, cola, with earth and violets. Chewy feel on a medium/full-bodied palate with zippy acidity, which balances the mouthfeel nicely. Saucy plums, raspberries, strawberry jam, along with notes of cola, violets, coffee, potpourri. Delicious but vibrant, too. Classic Russian River goodness. (91 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Klopp Ranch USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $66
Light purple color. The nose boasts black cherries, raspberries, with cola, sweet violets, tilled soil, rhubarb and mint leaves. Full and suave on the palate with velvety tannins and medium acidity, this sports pretty balance and juicy black cherries, plums and blood orange. Complex notes of chestnut, clove, clay, earth, with cola and vanilla tones. Deep, rich, yet vibrant, this will do well with a few years of age. (92 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $72
Medium ruby color. Vibrant, deep aromas with raspberry, bright cherry, fresh strawberries, with complex elements of clove, rose petals, pine forest. On the palate, this is crisp and elegant on a medium/full-bodied frame with velvety but structured tannins – the balance is pristine. Delicious cherries, pomegranate, plum, raspberry fruit, tangy but deep. Complex elements of pine sap, crunchy leaves, tobacco, bay leaf, rose petals, just all sorts of things going on. Pure, delicious, give this air or five years of age and listen to it sing. (93 points IJB)

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