Merry Edwards dinner at Vin Rouge in Durham, NC - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 02-08-2010

This event was part of the Triangle Wine Experience, Feb. 4-6. I'm belatedly brining in the menu to list the courses. Merry and her husband Ken were on hand. About 24 diners in a small room off the main room. Six-course dinner and I was full after the first three courses but managed to eat part of the next three courses.

First wine poured was 2000 BUBBLES BY MERRY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALEY CUVEE MEREDITH. She only makes a sparkling wine about every five years and then it is released about five years later. She has a 2008 that may be available in 2014. Bubbles didn't last long but this was tasty! A little weighty on the palate and showed a hint of maturity. The sparkler was served along with a Willapa oyster with horseradish, apple and olive oil.

The Sauvignon Blanc was rated number 9 I believe in "Wine Spectator's" 100 top wines of the year. Merry goes for a sauvignon fume style with fermentation in oak barrels, but only a small portion of new oak for added creaminess. Special selection grapes from older vineyards (over 25 years old.) Very floral clone; more body and richness.
This wine was served with a lobster course which came out in a glass lidded jar. (Lobster, cauliflower, shellfish veloute, slow-cooked egg--I thought the egg didn't really add to it.) It was a nice pairing with the lobster dish. I got a suggestion of apple butter. Very smooth. However, my personal preference is for the crisper, stainless steel fermented Sauvignon Blanc wines.

2003 PINOT NOIR, SONOMA COAST Pretty rich garnet color. This was a favorite with the woman sitting across from me (who happens to work with my neighbor although we both drove up from Fayetteville independently.) Cherry/raspberry nose. First sip called to mind small red berries with some persistence. Slightly tart. Lengthy finish.
Merry Edwards said this wine from the library shows that California Pinot Noir can age a bit. Served with "onion soup" (deconstructed? more like a small onion tart with broth poured over it)

14.2% alcohol. Perhaps a bit softer than the previous wine although a darker color. Leggy. To my mind, blueberry was the main flavor element and this echoes my impression of the Meredith Estate from an earlier tasting with Merry Edwards at a Triangle Wine Experience in Raleigh several years ago. I asked how long the skins are in contact with the juice and she said it varies from 10-16 days. Served with quail en crepinette with sausage, prune, cabbage confit and Armagnac sauce. (I remember only having one bite of the sausage because it was too rich and filling with all the other food.)

This was my favorite of the evening--generally I prefer the RRV profile to the Sonoma Coast although there are exceptions. I have had Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (a blend from several vineyards) shipped to me in past years. The vineyard, owned by the Pellegrini family, is over 35 years old. I visited it in 2007 and bought a bottle of the Pellegrini Pinot Noir. Several prominent wineries have purchased their grapes in the past but they now sell exclusively to Merry Edwards.
Leggy on the side of the glass with cranberry and cherry aromas. A little drying on the finish. The lady across from me thought it could benefit from a few years in the cellar but I thought it was quite drinkable now. (Beef short rib "Bourguignon" with this dish.)

We finished the meal with a shared cheese plate with grapes. A creamy cheese (Goat cheese?--I didn't catch the name), Morbier, and Gruyere cheeses. I liked the creamy cheese but the nutty flavored Gruyere was my favorite.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 02-12-2010).]