Merry Edwards, Russian River Valley (Sonoma County, California) Pinot Noir Meredith Estate 2017

($68):  Wow!  It’s worth repeating, Wow!  And I don’t mean that in terms of power, I mean that in terms of stature and finesse.  Merry Edwards has always been one of my favorite producers, especially for Pinot Noir, but she has outdone herself with their 2017 Meredith Estate.  Talk about a track record.  In the last decade, I’ve scored only one Meredith Estate less than 95 points—the 2011 received 94.  She purchased the 24-acre site in 1996 and planted to Pinot Noir a couple of years later.  They consider it their flagship wine.  I think the 2017 is their best ever, showing more finesse and sleekness than in previous years without sacrificing intensity.  Heidi von der Mehden, who is Merry Edwards new winemaker after serving as Edwards’ assistant since 2015, told me during The SOMM Journal’s Geographical Digest webinar, “Domestic Bliss,” that the 2017 vintage was cooler than usual, which she felt explained the slightly different profile of the wine.  It’s a gorgeous wine with what I think of as the hallmark of Pinot Noir — flavor without weight.  Without a trace of heaviness, it dances, seemingly forever, on the palate.  It’s both racy and voluptuous, but not overdone, with an emphasis on the savory side of Pinot Noir.  Its suaveness makes it a joy to drink now.  Its impeccable balance suggests it will evolve beautifully with age, so there’s no rush.
98 Michael Apstein Oct 27, 2020