Merry Edwards Pinot Noir


logoMerry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Sustainable
Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Klopp Vineyard – Sustainable

Merry Edwards Winery was founded in 1997 and produces terroir-driven, single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, including the winery flagship Meredith Estate, from 80 acres of estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Over two decades, as Merry assembled this stellar collection of vineyards, she employed meticulous attention to detail to become known for crafting Pinot Noirs of immense depth, elegant structure, and exceptional longevity.

The winery also makes three appellation wines. The Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs showcase the art of blending. These core wines highlight the best qualities of each AVA and are made to be approachable from release. The winery’s fragrant, barrel-aged Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc is among the most sought-after made in California. A single-vineyard Chardonnay from the venerable Olivet Lane Vineyard and Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc round out the portfolio.

Now a Certified California Sustainable Winery, the brand entered a new chapter after Merry’s retirement in 2020. Merry’s handpicked successor, Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden, and Winery President Nicole Carter have taken up exactly where Merry left off and will continue to make wines treasured by legions of Merry Edwards’ fans well into the future. Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden with Founder Merry Edwards One of California’s first woman winemakers,

Merry Edwards began her career in 1974 after graduating with a master’s degree from UC Davis’ winemaking program. She worked as winemaker for multiple brands, including Mount Eden and Matanzas Creek, and consulted for dozens of wineries before creating the Merry Edwards label in 1997. She was integral in putting Russian River Pinot Noir on the map over the next decade and completed construction of her own winery on the site of her Coopersmith Vineyard in 2008. She was among the first California winemakers to embrace the importance of clonal selection and firmly believed that site-specific, terroir-driven viticulture was the only way to achieve broad success.

When Merry decided to retire and sell the winery, among the suitors was Champagne Louis Roederer, since the 200-year-old company’s winemaking philosophy mirrors that which Merry embraced her entire career. It was a match made in Heaven.   In 2018, Merry named Heidi von der Mehden as her successor. Heidi had trained with Merry since 2015 and had been a key player at such notable Sonoma County wineries as Mauritson and Arrowood, where she was winemaker.

Heidi’s drive and talent, love of the challenging Pinot Noir grape, and her commitment to Merry’s winegrowing principles ensure the continuation of this legendary brand. Heidi employs gentle, traditional, labor-intensive winemaking practices, the same processes developed and perfected by Merry Edwards using no shortcuts. In the winery, all Pinot fermentation tanks are open-top, but fully convertible to closed-topped tanks for blending and storage. Each tank is heated and cooled at the flip of a switch so that proper cold soaking, warming prior to yeast inoculation and any desired extended maceration can be achieved.

Punch downs by hand have evolved to a unique, pneumatic stainless steel foot operated by a joystick. This allows repeatable, consistent, and thorough management of the fermenting Pinot Noir cap. All of the color, flavor, and tannins so carefully vine grown can then be captured by full extraction. The Pinot Noirs age solely in French oak cooperage for approximately 10 months. For the Sauvignon Blanc, full fermentation takes place in French oak barrels, 18% new, which moderates green flavors. Elevage in barrel also allows for a twice-weekly lees-stirring protocol, vital to developing rich mouthfeel.


Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This brilliant, burgundy-hued wine immediately offers up fragrances of mixed berries, Bing cherry, cola, candied violets, and black tea along with exotic spices and dried herbs. On the palate, there is a compelling mix of broad tannins and minerality, along with a seductive measure of smoky oak balanced with juicy acidity. Black plum, brambleberry, cassis, and wet slate create a layered and lingering finish.  

100% Pinot Noir, aged in 52 percent new French oak for nine months, allowing the wine time to rest on the lees, gaining depth.

95 points, Wine Enthusiast “A hint of stemmy earthiness leads the way to a luxurious, expansive, and velvety palate. The acidity is edgy and fresh, lifting the savory and floral components over a rich, complex berry core.” 

94 points, Tasting Panel “Aged sur lie for nine months in 55% new French oak, it is a merriment of earthly delights. Just-picked strawberries in tilled soil, mocha-kissed cherries, and cinnamon coriander are demonstrative on the nose and palate. Basil and sage are echoed in the red-fruited finish.”

92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate  “Medium ruby, the 2019 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley opens with savory scents of cranberry sauce, rhubarb, cherries, and violet perfume with earthy and meaty touches. The medium-bodied palate is lushly fruited with a grainy texture, juicy freshness, and long, spicy finish.” 


Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Klopp Vineyard 

The 2017 Pinot Noir Klopp Ranch comes mainly from vines planted in the late 1980s in Goldridge soils, mostly Pommard clone, plus some younger vines planted to Dijon clones. Grower Ted Klopp and Merry worked together as partners for more than a decade, collaborating on decisions that achieve the rich berry flavor and firm structure of this wine. His vineyard, located on the Laguna Ridge, is exceptional; the fine sandy soil provides excellent drainage, and his exacting vineyard practices produce remarkable intensity, year after year.

It’s medium ruby-purple in the glass and has a fragrant nose of warm cinnamon, mushrooms, moss-covered bark, rhubarb and red and black berries with notions of lilac and tangerine peel. It’s medium-bodied, silky and loaded with perfumed fruit layers, with a frame of chocolate-textured tannins and juicy acidity begging you to take another sip, finishing very long and very layered

95 points, Tasting Panel  “The fruit for this wine comes from the oldest blocks on this renowned site on sandy, Goldridge soil, blending Pommard and Swan clones. The earth-laden nose is rich with blueberries and brown-sugared plums. Perfumed lavender, sweet lush cherries and savory herbs define the exotic attributes of this red.”

93 points, Wine Enthusiast   “Forest, clove, oak and thick tannin make for a hearty entry into this perennially impressive vineyard-designate—one of the producer’s earliest partnerships. Weighty and powerful, it offers forest floor, tea and wild strawberry, the acidity lasting and lively.” 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *