2004 Merry Edwards "Olivet Lane" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1093819 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 A glorious success, for this or any vintage. It shows classic Russian River balance and refinement, with exquisitely ripe berry and stone fruit flavors counterbalanced with earthier mushroom and funky leather notes. The acids, tannins and silky mouthfeel are textbook Pinot.  (12/2006)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 We have tended to think of this vineyard as a source of slightly leaner, mid-sized Pinot Noirs, but, in this incarnation, it exceeds expectations in terms of its ripeness, size and overall depth. It is full, sweet and highly extracted with lots of solid, black-cherry fruit, and inclines not the least to softness even if obviously ripe. Its back-end tannins and slight acidy bite make it one worthy of cellaring, and, while elegance may be a bit past its reach, it will most assuredly find a measure of polish four or five years hence. *Two Stars*  (2/2007)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 Merry Edwards knows how to make rich, velvety pinot noir. This one is as fat in the haunches as a Porsche Carrera, and just as sleek. The surface is black, with dark wood spices and a plum pudding ripeness, while underneath there's plenty of strawberry flavor. Decant it for seared breast of duck.  (4/2007)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Fragrant black cherry and wild raspberry scents are fresh and vibrant, with a delicate mouthfeel to the texture. Well-balanced, turning complex on the finish, where the fruit and spices fold together. (JL)  (2/2007)

Jancis Robinson

 Hints of coffee. Very spicy and high-toned with lots of acidity. Dry notes - very refreshing and long. 17.5/20 points (JR)  (7/2006)

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Price: $49.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.