Drop by any day of the week and you will likely find that the Merry Edwards tasting room is a very busy place in the Russian River Valley wine country of Sonoma County. The draw here is the owner and winemaker Merry Edwards. She is one of the most respected winemakers in California, and when wine travelers on Highway 116 see the Merry Edwards winery entrance, they can hardly resist stopping by. The winery has been open about two years but the name Merry Edwards goes way back and has been renowned for making great Pinot Noir wines.
When the winery and tasting room first opened in 2008, guests were admitted by appointment only. With so many wine buffs eager to taste, it is hard to turn away the ones who just decide to drop in. We stopped by on a late Thursday afternoon without an appointment and had to wait in the business office while others finished their tasting.
As I mentioned earlier, Merry Edwards Pinot Noir wines have long been a favorite of many and have received well-deserved accolades from the wine community. But it is the Sauvignon Blanc that really stands out above all others. The current release is the 2009 and it is nearly sold out. We were fortunate that there was a little left for us to try. So here is the deal on the Sauvignon Blanc. At first the aromas are quite similar to a good New Zealand-style Sauvignon Blanc, but that is where the similarity ends. When you taste this wine, it is a mouthful of rich elegance with a tad of oak and just the right acidity. Sometimes an S.B. will bowl you over with its high acidity but this one is made to perfection. As you might have guessed this S.B. does not come cheap. It is $30 a bottle while most Sauvignon Blancs are priced well under $20. Most of the grapes for this wine come from 30-year-old vines and the juice is barrel fermented in French oak, eighteen percent of which is new. This wine is like no other Sauvignon Blanc I have tried. We tried this wine with a recipe on the Merry Edward Website for “Roasted Corn Soup.” The paired combination of the Sauvignon Blanc and the soup is perfect.
If you plan to go to Merry Edwards, make an appointment to be sure you can get in to taste. With an appointment, you have a room to yourself and a more relaxed time to taste and enjoy these terrific wines. Nearby are two other outstanding wineries that make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They are Dutton Goldfield and Lynmar Winery. We also suggest you take the backroads if you are coming from San Francisco. Take the Sebastopol exit off 101 and travel west on HWY 116 for about 12 miles. The winery is just before the crossroads of HWY 116 and the town of Graton.