VOL 11, ISSUE 50
Aug 27, 2019

Merry Edwards Wines

Owner(s) Ken Coopersmith, Merry Edwards
Web site www.merryedwards.com
 
Link to this site
Merry Edwards Wines

Merry Edwards, the "Queen of Pinot," has been crafting Pinot Noir in California dating back to the early 1970s when she had her start at Mt Eden in the Santa Cruz Mountains. She was largely responsible for the emergence and national prominence of Matanzas Creek. Subsequently, she had her own label, Merry Vintners, which failed financially and had a stint at Laurier. Along the way she has done important Pinot Noir clonal research and is responsible for the Mt Eden clone (UCD 37).

When Merry entered graduate school at the University of California at Davis after graduating from University of California at Berkeley, she found that the university did not fully back her entry into an industry and profession that was supposed to be open to all. She took exception to the network of favoritism within the Department of Viticulture and Enology that did not give all students equal access to employment opportunities. She was able to convince the department and school administration that unequal treatment should not continue.

Her master's research made waves. She created a method for analyzing lead in wine and did a broad study of California vintages. She found that this toxin migrated from lead capsules into wine. Her results were suppressed for an entire year along with the ability to complete her thesis. The repercussion was the termination of lead capsule use, an industry-changing event.

The most exciting and absorbing chapter of Merry's professional career is her present passion. In 1997 she co-founded a business venture with husband and partner Ken Coopersmith allowing her to produce Merry Edwards Wines from select Pinot Noir grapes in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, including, for the first time, her own vineyards: Meredith Estate (planted in 1998), Coopersmith (planted in 2001), along with long-term leases for Georganne, Warren's Hill, Flax, Richaven and Maefield. “ I have always wanted to make wine from the ground up." Today, after many years of being a guest in other wineries, she owns the customized Merry Edwards Winery constructed in 2006 and, located at the Coopersmith Vineyard. Reception was expanded in 2010 and a guest house and barn have been added.

The impressive Pinot Noir lineup: Olivet Lane Vineyard, Coopersmith Vineyard, Meredith Estate Vineyard, Flax Vineyard, Klopp Ranch Vineyard, Tobias Glen Vineyard. Don't forget the Sauvignon Blanc - it is the best made in California. Merry Edwards wines are consistently among the top sellers in US restaurants.

The Merry Edwards winery and tasting room are open by appointment.

Reviewed Wines

2017 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.1% alc.,10,500 cases, $36. The key component in this wine is the highly floral Sauvignon Musqué selection from Sancerre, which comprises one-third of the blend. The Shenandoah clone balances this out with its classic herbal and grassy character. For the first time, a substantial proportion of grapes were harvested from the winery’s young estate vineyards (nearly 30 per cent). Fermented and aged in French oak barrels, 18% new, with biweekly lees stirring. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Terrific nose, offering a perfume of white rose, pear, white peach, pineapple, spice and a hint of warm straw. Delectable flavors echo the nose with Sauvignon Blanc’s signature grassiness in the background. Slightly creamy in texture with gracious acidity and a floral-embossed finish. This wine is consistently superb in every vintage. My alltime favorite California Sauvignon Blanc it is the oneI buy and choose to drink every vintage. Score: 94. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 5,100 cases, $51. A blend of grapes from six vineyards. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry syrup, cassis, spice and earthy flora. The mid weight plus array of sweet purple and black berry fruits is framed by modest tannins and friendly oak. The most easygoing wine in the 2017 Pinot Noir lineup. Score: 89. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 580 cases, $63. Pommard and Mt Eden clones. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of the blackest cherry, earthy flora and smoke. A wine of imposing ruggedness and drying tannins, with a full-bodied charge of blackberry and prune flavors along with an underlying note of guaiacol (typical of this vineyard). The copious, very ripe fruit coats the palate, but the harsh tannins make for fatiguing drinking. This wine drinks like a young Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: 87. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Georgeanne Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 540 cases, $63. Estate grown. An estate vineyard located on Westside Road near the northern border of the AVA planted to Mt Eden clone. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Very shy aromas of blackberry jam. Hard to coax much out of the nose. Monster fruit and hard tannins greet the palate. Flavors of blackest cherry and black raspberry are backed by trim oak. The wine combines some fruit intensity and length with tannic muscle on the finish. Score: 88. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Warren’s Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 240 cases, $63. This wine is ‘A Legend Reborn.’ This is the first vintage of a wine that traces its lineage to Windsor Gardens Vineyard that was farmed by Lee Martinelli Jr. Lee thought that Martini clone was planted in this unirrigated vineyard. Merry Edwards named the property Windsor Gardens upon its first bottling as a Merry Edwards vineyard designate. The wine quickly developed a cult following. The developer who owned the property removed the old vines after the 2003 harvest to make way for new tract homes. Warren’s Hill was planted on a hilltop in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley in 2012 using budwood Lee Martinelli had preserved from Windsor Gardens. The name of the vineyard is a tribute to Merry’s son Warren who passed away in 2006. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of blackberry reduction sauce, loganberry, spice and vanilla cone. A full charge of purple and blackberry fruits greets the palate with intention. A bit of oak-driven vanilla and toast is in the mix. The tannins are quite modest and there is some finishing grace and length. Score: 90. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 730 cases, $66. Estate grown. Vineyard is located northwest of Sebastopol in the Laguna Ridge. UCD 37 clone (Mt Eden). · Dark garnet color in the glass. The aromatic profile is dominated by oak. A plethora of well-ripened boysenberry and dusty blackberry fruits have a noticeable overlay of vanilla and toast. Silky in the mouth, with cohesive tannins and acidity, and a lengthy finish. Score: 90. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 730 cases, $68. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark berry jam, wine cave, old book and vanilla. Mid weight plus flavors of blackberry, cassis and pomegranate with a touch of iron. A big, bold, ripely-fruited wine with supportive tannins. The deep wall of fruit has charm, the wine stays in balance, but the wine enters a little stronger than it finishes. Score: 90. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 2,500 cases, $48. A blend of eight lots of wine grown at five distinctive vineyard sites. Both California and Burgundy clones. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. An arsenal of aromas including ripe, dark fruits, violets, baking spices, oak cask and vanilla. Plenty of stuffing in a mid weight plus style, offering flavors of sweet, earthen, dark red and purple berry fruits with toasty oak in the background. The fruit is not as ripe and sappy as found in other Pinot Noirs in the 2016 lineup. Forward drinking and juicy, with modest tannins and some finishing persistence. Score: 91. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Flax Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 580 cases, $63. This vineyard is located on Westside Road. 100% Pommard clone. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Assertive aromas of black cherry, bola and underbrush. Delicious core of ripe black cherry fruit backed by substantial but not intrusive tannins. More appealing elegance compared to other 2016 Pinot Noirs reviewed here. The finish is remarkable for its length and the display of haunting black cherry goodness. Even better when tasted several hours later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when more spice accent came out to enhance the regal fruit. Score: 95. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Klopp Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 664 cases, $66. This vineyard overlooks the western edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the middle of the Russian River Valley. Soils are classic Goldridge. Clones are Pommard, 115, 667, 777 and a Swan selection. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black fruits, cola, forest and a hint of vanilla. Mid weight plus in concentration, featuring a wave of blackberry, cassis and spice flavors, framed by substantial, but gracious tannins. and complimented by toasty oak in the background. Overall, the balance is commendable and the powerfully succulent finish leaves a good impression. Score: 93. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $66. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing, with scents of pineapple, yellow peach, grilled lemon and clarified butter. Sleek in the mouth with a rich entry and mid palate load of citrus, ripe peach and vanilla flavors. Very agreeable, in a nicely balanced style. Score: 91. Reviewed July 20, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,375 cases, $68. Clone 667 forms the foundation of this wine. UCD 37, 777 and a Swan selection round out the blend. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, sawdust and nutty oak. A glorious attack of lavish black fruits draws attention. Intense and brooding, even over time in the glass. Harmonious tannins create a sleek and satisfying texture. The glorious finish (and I have this underlined in my notes) concludes with waves of ripe fruit. Bombastic! Score: 94. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Merry Edwards Vintage 20 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 222 cases, $120. Commemorates the 20th anniversary of Merry’s eponymous brand. A selection of the most luscious barrels from each of the winery’s estate vineyards: Coopersmith, Georganne, Meredith Estate and Warrens’ Hill. It is primarily composed of UCD 37 clone, with a small percentage of 667 and the progeny of Windsor Gardens. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This is a super ripe, sweet, compote-like, bold wine with aromas of crushed dark berries, blackberry reduction, leather saddle and Eastern spices. Intensely flavored boysenberry and blackberry fruits are framed by husky tannins that envelope the fruit. There is plenty of lavish, vanilla-laced oak infusion. The finish is extremely long and generously endowed with purple fruits but is somewhat astringent. The wine did not show much change when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This reserve styled wine definitely makes a bold statement with its massive arsenal of super ripe, fruit-driven sauciness and thick oak flavors, but it is too over-the-top for my tastes. Score: 90. Reviewed January 16, 2019 ARTICLE »

2012 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

13.9% alc., $32. This wine is especially noteworthy as it is sourced from 20 to 25-year-old vines, contains the Sauvignon Musque clone that lends depth and aromatic interest, and is packaged in a provocative label. The wine is barrel fermented with lees stirring, giving it an uncommon richness and complexity on the palate. · Moderate straw color and clear in the glass. Perfumed with lychee and floral notes, tasting of fresh melon, pear and pink grapefruit, and laced with bright acidity, this wine is highly versatile at the table. This beautifully crafted wine has none of the unpleasant grassiness found in many Sauvignon Blancs. One of my top two California Sauvignon Blancs. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. $57. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Ripely fruited, with scents of dark berries, Bing cherries and sandalwood. Full-bodied flavors of black cherry with hints of anise and tea, finishing with some generosity and a touch of warmth. Score: 90-91. Reviewed April 4, 2015 ARTICLE »

2012 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $57. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Toasty black cherry aromas and rich black cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors. Very fruity with balanced tannins and fruit-driven finish. A luscious, rich California style. Score: 90-91. Reviewed April 4, 2015 ARTICLE »

2011 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $60. Mount Eden clone. · Dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Deep aromas of red and black fruits with a hint of balsam. Full-bodied, dark red cherry and berry fruits with a leafy note. A solid, balanced wine that lacks inspiration. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $62. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very ripe, baked, dark red and black fruit aromas with oak-driven notes of graham and toast. Moderate concentration of blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and pomegranate flavors with oak in the background. The tannins are muscular and dry and the pleasing acidity juicy. Needs a steak to ameliorate the tannins. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Merry Edwards Flax Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 430 cases, $54. Pommard clone. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely scented with aromas of fresh Bing cherries, baked cookies and spice. Bright, sappy, cherry and raspberry fruit clothed in tawny tannins. Richly concentrated with complimentary oak treatment and some finishing intensity. Hard to ignore the prodigious fruit. Good (+). Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $57. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruit profile on the nose offering aromas of blackberries, black raspberries, Asian 5-spice and subtle oak. Rich, ripe and full-flavored with oodles of sappy black fruits. The decadent fruit core is supported by balanced tannins and finishes with uncommon intensity and length. Not my preferred style, but this wine will find many fans relishing its mouth-coating explosion of fruit. Very good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $60. · Moderate ruby color in the glass. Reduced aroma initially with prominent oak char opening up slowly in the glass to reveal pleasing scents of Bing cherries and spice. Full-bodied core of black cherries, black raspberries, brown spice and cola. More darkly fruited than many Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs. A Cabernet drinker’s Pinot with sturdy tannins, modest acidity, and dense, very ripe fruit. The wine had roasted fruit aromas and marked black currant and porto flavors the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Not my cup of tea. Decent. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. Vineyard was one of the first Pinot Noir estates in the Russian River Valley, planted in 1973 to the Martini clone. · Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of Bing cherries, sandalwood, leather and hazelnuts. The wine sports a middleweight cherry core with an echo of toasted oak. The tannins have fully softened and the finish is replete with cherries. The wine has aged nicely, but has peaked, so drink up. Very good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $39. · The nose is the star here, drawing you in with heavenly Bing cherry, exotic spices and vanilla. The fruit is a bit shallow and watered- down. There is some attractive oak spice and the tannins are fine-grained. The wine finishes with a tart citrus impression. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Tobias Glen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $51. · The wine starts off with aromas of red cherry, forest floor and oak. The oak continues throughout ending in a dry and woodsy finish. The wild berry fruit is stacked and packed. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.35 alc., $54. This estate vineyard is located on the Laguna Ridge west of Sebastopol on Hwy 116. Composed of California heritage and Dijon clones. · Dark reddish-violet in color. Sage, oak, hay and cola scents are followed in the mouth by shallow dark fruits and an echo of oak smoke. Silky in texture and adequate in acidity, the wine lacks pizazz and the finish is short. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $54. The Coopersmith Merry Edwards Estate Vineyard is located in the Laguna Ridge area west of Sebastopol. Planted to both California heritage and 828 clones. · The nose is dominated by aromas of oak, hay, sage and cola. The dark fruit is a bit shallow and linear. A touch of oak smoke rounds out the flavor profile. Silky textured with adequate acidity and a short finish. The young vines are not yet showing a lot of pizzazz or personality. Reviewed --/--/--

2005 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $54. · The aromatics display oak-dusted black cherries and blackberries.. The ripe dark fruits are cloaked in oak on the palate and the wine finishes with plentiful herbal notes, a slight bitterness and healthy tannins. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Klopp Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $57. The grapes are farmed by noted winegrower Ted Klopp in a cool area featuring Goldridge sandy soils. · Darkly colored. Welcoming nose of oak-kissed black cherries, earth, tea and cola. Full-bodied and deep dark stone fruits and blueberries are well integrated with subtle oak and gentle tannins, finishing with some orange peel citric tang. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Merry Edwards Klopp Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $57. From a cool site farmed by Ted Klopp. Goldridge sandy soils. · Darkly colored. Oak-kissed and earth-dusted aromas of black cherries, tea and cola. Deep, dark and full-bodied fruit with subtle accents of blueberries and oak, fine tannins, and some orange peel on the tangy finish. Reviewed --/--/--

2005 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $60. · Deep ruby color. Nicely oaked, rich black cherry fruit highlighted with vanillin and spice, finishing with good persistence and leaving quite a bit of tannin in its wake. Reviewed January 28, 2009 ARTICLE »

2004 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.1% alc., $27 A unique example of this variety sourced from thirty-year-old vines at Hopkins Starr Road Ranch and the Cohen Vineyard, west of Sebastopol. Both vineyards are planted to the Sauvignon Musque clone. · This pale strawcolored wine has a nice nose of tropical fruits, herbs and roasted nuts. Good acidity and a mildly creamy texture. I get a little smoked fish on the clean finish. A workhorse Sauvignon Blanc that everyone needs in the cellar for shellfish and white fish dishes. Reviewed October 2, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $30. The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Meredith Estate Vineyard. Aging was in 63% new French oak for 10 months. · This beauty attacks the nose with dark cherries, spice box, and a kiss of oak. The flavors follow in step with added earthiness, tea, and luscious tart red fruit flavors. The balance is perfect. Plenty of finesse here, but not a “girlie” wine. The finish explodes in the mouth. Reviewed October 2, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $36. Sourced from five Russian River Valley vineyards including Meredith, Klopp and Olivet Lane and aged 10 months in 52% new French oak. · The aromatics feature dark crushed cherries and toasty oak. This medium-bodied wine has a plenty of structure and notable flavors of dark stone fruits and rhubarb. The finish is marked by smoke, generous oak and slightly bitter tannins. An oak lover’s dream. Reviewed October 2, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $57. · Classic and classy Russian River Valley Pinot Noir profile featuring the triad of Bing cherries, cola and Asian spice. Restrained and demure, yet immensely satisfying with gossamer tannins and impeccable balance. This one hits all the right notes. Reviewed January 28, 2009 ARTICLE »

2004 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $57. This heritage vineyard is over thirty years old and still pumping out quintessential Russian River Pinot fruit. Merry Edwards has been making Olivet Lane Pinot Noir since 1989 and this may be her best vintage yet. This Pinot Noir was aged 10 months in 80% new French oak but you would never know it as the oak is so well integrated. · A reference standard for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Oh that Bing cherry and cola and Asian spice. Demure and perfectly balanced. A finish that is ridiculously long. Lively acidity brings out the fruit beautifully. This is why I get excited about Pinot Noir. This is a wine you want to go one on one with - find a time when you are alone, uncork a bottle, and spend the evening in a monogamous relationship. Reviewed October 2, 2006 ARTICLE »



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