Welcome back to the wine series. This month we’re trying the 2015 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. It is one of the oldest grapes in world, dating back to Roman times and is now the 10th most planted grape in the world, with France, the U.S., and Germany as the top 3 suppliers. It is also known for being a little finicky to grow, which keeps supply of good pinot noir down and results in a generally pricier wine. Pinot noir is usually known as a low tannin wine, but if you ever try one with a lot of tannin, it could be because the wine was fermented with whole cluster fermentation. This is when the entire bunch of grapes (including stems) are crushed and fermented together, leading to higher tannins from the stems. This technique is used almost exclusively with pinot noir. Unfortunately, because pinot noir is so popular and the supply isn’t huge, there are a lot of sub-par wines on the market.
The good news is, it is possible to find a good pinot noir at a reasonable price. The Russian River Valley is well situated for pinot noir, so wines from here are usually pretty good. Merry Edwards Winery was founded here in 1997 with a focus on pinot noir. The namesake and founder, Merry Edwards, was one of the first women to become a winemaker in California. She focuses on site-specific viticulture with a goal of the wine showcasing the local terroir.
Today’s wine was a very enjoyable (albeit very heavy) bottle of wine, and that’s saying something because I generally avoid pinot noir. Once I managed to lift the bottle and pour a glass (seriously, it was really heavy for a wine bottle!) I noticed a lot of bright fruit flavors, specifically blueberry and raspberry, with a slight chocolate aftertaste and smell. The fruit was nice and tart, and the wine had a nice body. While it didn’t make you feel weighed down, it was substantial and not thin. If you don’t like pinot noir because it always seems thin and watered down, I do recommend you try this one, not just to experience the world’s heaviest wine bottle, but also to see that pinot noir can actually taste good and not empty your bank account!