For more than three decades, Merry Edwards has been making a range of small-production pinot noirs from various appellations in California’s Sonoma County. The 2006 Russian River Valley “Flax Vineyard” Pinot Noir is one of the best Merry Edwards wines I have tasted. This ruby-colored wine is all elegance, made in a style that eschews the over-the-top, massive-fruit style that has come to define too many California pinot noirs in recent years. The Flax Vineyard, from which the grapes are sourced, is planted entirely with the Pommard clone of Burgundy, and the wine, focused and reserved, is refreshingly Burgundian in style.
It shows a gentle but firm tannic structure, ample acidity and notes of sweet cherry, spice and cocoa. We enjoyed it, slightly chilled, with a pan-roasted sirloin steak with which we wanted a “lighter” red. The 2007 vintage is currently for sale, at $54, from the winery. (Received as a press sample.)