“People frequently ask what is the best wine I have ever made. I tell them it’s not made yet!” ~ Merry Edwards
Merry(Meredith) Edwards is known as the Queen of Pinot Noir. An iconic winemaker from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, a region known for their Pinot Noir’s and Chardonnays. Her wines are known to be intense yet graceful. Merry Edwards may be known for her Pinot Noirs, but according to many critics and wine lovers, her Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most highly regarded from California. Merry Edwards Winery is producing some of California’s best terroir-driven wines.
Merry Edwards, Founder
With her master’s degree in Food Science and Enology, Merry began her career as a winemaker at Mount Eden Winery in 1974. As one of California’s first female winemaker, she quickly became a star in the wine industry. Over the years Merry became captivated by Sonoma and went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek and later forged a career in consulting.
Merry love for viticulture drew the eyes of academicians. In 1975, Merry selected cuttings from Mount Eden’s Pinot Noir vineyard and sent them to UC Davis for research. Her field selection became UCD clone 37, also known as the “Merry Edwards selection”. Today this clonal selection is widely used in the Russian River Valley for its quality and specificity to the region.
Over the years, Merry became well acquainted with the slopes, soils and microclimates of the Russian River Valley. In 1996 she purchased land in the Sebastopol Hills region of Russian River Valley and in 1997 produce Merry Edwards wines from select Pinot Noir grapes in Russian River Valley. Over the years Merry and her husband Ken Coopersmith acquired new vineyards and built their own winery. Together they sought to plant vineyards where they could capture flavors through site-specific viticulture.
On her 40th anniversary(2013) as a winemaker, Merry was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame. In the same year, same also won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional. Her winemaking career is one of perseverance and conviction, all traits that have garnered admiration from her peers, wine critics, and wine lovers alike.
Merry has since sold the winery to Maison Louis Roederer and now spends her time gardening, cooking, doing yoga and spending quality time with her family. Merry Edwards Winery has transitioned into the very capable hands of these leading women in wine.
Nicole Carter, President
Nicole Carter is charming, dynamic and experienced. She brings to Merry Edwards 20 years of marketing, winemaking and viticultural experience. As President, she is in charge of all operations and oversight at Merry Edwards. Nicole has been a part of the Napa and Sonoma winemaking community for several decades where she served as the Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Winemaking for Hess Family Wine Estates. Previously, she spent 18 years with Treasury Wine Estates in several global marketing and public relations roles.
Heidi von der Mehden, Winemaker
Merry Edwards transitioned her winemaking duties to Heidi von der Mehden. Heidi joined Merry Edwards winery in 2015. Heidi is originally from San Francisco but grew up not too far from Merry Edwards Winery in Santa Rosa, California. With a degree in chemistry, Heidi taught high school chemistry in Tanzania, Africa while in the Peace Corp. In 2000, after returning to the states, she became a lab technician at Kenwood Vineyards where she prominently became their enologist. In 2004 she joined Mauritson as assistant winemaker and in 2007 she joined Arrowood Winery where she was the winemaker.
In 2015 Merry Edwards asked Heidi to join the winery as an associate winemaker. Heidi worked side by side with Merry Edwards and made her first vintage in 2018. Heidi’s cultivated the making of a brand-new Merry Edwards single-vineyard designate called Bucher Pinot Noir and also participated in creating Vintage 20, a cuvée that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Merry Edwards brand.
Merry Edwards Winery is well-positioned to succeed and continue to make some of California’s best terroir-driven Pinot Noirs. Here are five samplings of their exciting new releases.
2018 MERRY EDWARDS BUCHER PINOT NOIR
The Bucher Pinot Noir is a combination of Pommard and UCD37 clonal selections that are well-suited to the early ripening hillside above Westside Road. With a nice deep ruby hue, the wine has a bouquet of cranberries, strawberries and violets. The palate is youthful and bright with notes of plums, cherries, pomegranate and an earthy finish. A jaw-dropping sensational wine.
2018 MERRY EDWARDS FLAX VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
The Flax Vineyard Pinot Noir is from 100% Pommard clone vines. There are alluring notes of raspberries, cherries and exotic spice on the nose. The Flax Vineyard Pinot is medium-bodied on the palate with nice juicy notes of red fruits, spice and earthy undertones. Nice acidity with rustic tannins leaves a long memorable finish.
2018 MERRY EDWARDS MEREDITH ESTATE PINOT NOIR
The vines for this Pinot Noir were first planted in 1998 on Merry Edward’s namesake vineyards. Aromas of red berries, exotic spice and lavender exude from the glass. Red fruits, cinnamon, cocoa and savory notes coat the palate. The palate is well balanced with nice fruit, refreshing acidity and fine tannins. This wine is simply superb and worth seeking out.
2018 MERRY EDWARDS WARRENS’ HILL PINOT NOIR
The wine and vineyard site pays tribute to the three Warrens who have been important in Merry’s life: Warren Dutton, a good friend and prominent grower; Warren Arnold, a friend, partner and talented sculptor; and son Warren, who passed away in 2006. The wine has an expressive nose of black cherries, raspberries and plum. The palate is medium-bodied with layers of raspberries, strawberries and spice. With supple tannins, there is great intensity, balance and depth in this wine.
2018 MERRY EDWARDS LATE HARVEST SAUVIGNON BLANC
A gorgeous pale golden yellow color sparkles from the glass. Fragrant notes of apricot, ginger, honey, orange blossoms allure the senses. The palate is fresh and lively with notes of peach, ginger and honey. This is a sensual late harvest wine that is luscious and fresh.
*** Pictures Courtesy Merry Edwards Winery ***