Merry Edwards Winery, Sonoma County

by Stevie on January 19, 2011

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I first tried Merry Edwards pinot noir at a dinner party at Gary Danko. The wine was delicious! My friend, Suma, adores the Merry Edwards sauvignon blanc. When we recently visited, our tasting room guide declared that the sauvignon blanc has “gone viral” it is so popular. That said, Merry Edwards was originally founded to produce fine pinot noir with a taste of place.

an elegantly moody vineyard view from Merry Edwards

an elegantly moody vineyard view from Merry Edwards

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Meredith Estate

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Meredith Estate

These pinots have garnered a lot of praise, and they are good. Since they’re already producing great juice, Merry Edwards Winery could benefit from focusing some of its attention on the experience of visitors to their facility. In a word: awkward!

The winery is open for visitors by appointment and on a drop-in basis. Originally I made an appointment for the sit-down tasting but had to change to drop-in due to a scheduling conflict that arose. The winery is located in Sebastopol. The drive there from San Francisco is lovely. So far, so good.

We went on an especially gloomy day, which probably didn’t help things. But nobody can control the weather and it is January, so there we are.

Some folks were working in the vineyard and a tractor was in use when we arrived. I liked it as I always feel that a working winery is more interesting than one that is all show and polish.

The problems started inside.

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

2008 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

First off, this was a peculiar looking interior for a winery visitors center. Upon entering the building, we were greeted by two women sitting behind two identical desks, for all the world looking like a secretarial pool at some faceless office park in any American suburb that you can name. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve no issue with secretaries and clerical people. Plus these two were nice, but that is not the point at all! We’re here to relax and have fun, not prepare our income taxes or order a shipment of widgets. MEW, you really can’t do better than this?

The tasting was held in a medium-sized room to the left of the two at the desks. There were several bottles of wine on a large conference table; another couple visiting from Hayward, and the tasting room host, all standing around it. There were no chairs, which would be fine, except that this was not a bar but a conference table. These are low when you’re forced to stand and be charming while sipping your fancy tastes of pinot and chardonnay.

I did not see any real merchandise to peruse as a distraction, which was okay. But I also didn’t really see any bottles of wine for purchase on display either. Weird.

Since it is winter, the place was slow. I’d think that would give the tasting host the opportunity to focus on us more attentively. Instead, he somewhat grimly poured the wine with nary a hint about it beyond the basic description given in the Merry Edwards order sheet.

I’ve been wine tasting before 😉 so I know that I’m not completely ignorant about what to expect. It was amazing and disturbing that this man said nothing about where the wines were from, how they were crafted, suggested his tasting impressions, etc. Nothing! Nada! Zilch! That is so bizarre.

Merry Edwards winery on a dismal January afternoon

Merry Edwards winery on a dismal January afternoon

I did like the wines that we tried but I was so put off be the wine tasting experience that I didn’t buy any and I doubt that I will in future. That’s probably too bad, as they are very good. Lots of other people make good wine, too, and they know how to properly treat a customer. I’ll simply take my limited resources and spend elsewhere, thank you very much.

2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: This was a transparent pale red with a nose of sour cherry and cow pooh. It was medium to full bodied with a creamy texture with a long finish. We detected cherry, strawberry, mineral. In a word: delicious.

2008 Meredith Estate Pinot Noir: This was a transparent red with notes of forest floor and red berries. It was remarkably different from the Sonoma Coast: more delicate, more full-bodied with a long finish. There were loads of red fruit and a flinty quality that appeals, with some sour cherry on the end.

2008 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir: This was a transparent rusty red with notes of chocolate, forest floor and cherry. It had medium body with a decent finish. We noted red fruit and some leather.

2008 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir: This was a transparent dark red with a nose of Bing cherry and some spice. It had medium body and a good finish. We thought that the wine was simply lovely.

2008 Chardonnay: This was a very pale yellow with notes of green apple and pear. Though dry, the fruitiness made it seem sweet. There were hints of tropical fruits like papaya and jackfruit. This was creamy but not buttery. Good.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Heavenly Housewife January 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

I love the label on the chardonay :). I am one of those silly people who will buy something just because it comes in a cute package (hence my MrP LOL!!!)
*kisses* HH

Janice Lapp June 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I was very disappointed with the Sav Blanc we received this year. Does not measure up to the wine we enjoyed last year. I wonder what this is due to?

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