2021 is shaping up as an exceptional vintage for California pinot noir, and Merry Edwards recently dropped its wines from this year — all showing beautifully. Today we dig into six of them and a sauvignon blanc — five from the Russian River Valley and one from the colder Anderson Valley to the north. Thoughts follow.
2021 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley – Classic Merry Edwards sauvignon blanc, rich on the palate with notes of gooseberry and a pinch of cinnamon, moving from there into a light kiss of vanilla and spice. Juicy honeydew notes late in the game. Those looking for bright acidity or grassy notes need not apply: This is a hearty expression of sauvignon blanc that is something different — much creamier and more food-friendly than the typical bottle of California sauvi. A / $45
2021 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – This blend of Russian River fruit is as iconic as they come for the region: Tart raspberry and gently cherry notes make up the core, with some tea leaf in the mix. While slightly thin, body-wise, what slowly emerges is brightly acidic chocolate quality with a hint of salinity in the mix. Well-rounded and balanced, I found it enjoyable and engaging from start to finish — the perfect representation of what Sonoma pinot noir is all about. A- / $60
2021 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Dach Anderson Valley – Beautifully expressive yet rich, this versatile pinot blends cranberry notes with raspberry to create a deftly balanced expression of fruit and earth, ever so slightly balsamic on the back end, where it eventually veers more toward a more classic cherry character. Bold yet amply acidic, this is a cold climate pinot noir at its best, tinged with sage and rosemary on the very end of the finish to close out an exuberant and lively experience. A / $75
2021 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Coopersmith Russian River Valley – The heartiest wine in this collection, it features punchy notes of pipe tobacco and graphite sprinkled over a core of black raspberry. A cola character gives the palate some grip, turning almost chocolaty as it develops in glass. There’s some anise on the back end, but the enduring notes of brambly berries are what cling with you for the long haul. B+ / $70
2021 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Georganne Russian River Valley – A hearty, almost classic expression of Russian River pinot. Tea leaf dominates, with rugged notes of turned earth, blackberry bramble, and a brighter raspberry note on the finish. The expression gets sunnier and more vibrant as it develops in glass, florals building over time. Heartier than you might expect, with a hint of rosemary on the back end, it can stand up to a bigger meal pairing than you might otherwise have chosen. A- / $70
2021 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Russian River Valley – Rich and opulent, though with a light savory edge to it that evokes layers of earthy, woody qualities. Notes of anise and milk chocolate build on the palate, which moves into notes of cherry and cranberry in equal proportion. Slightly beefy on the finish, the wine offers a seasonally appropriate quality that hints at piles of dried underbrush and roast beef, making for a more hearty pinot than the norm. Tinged with anise and some cardamom on the finish. A- / $75