Critical Acclaim

Merry Edwards Wines

Bucher Pinot Noir

The first vintage of this juicy yet sophisticated Pinot was made in 2016 under the guidance of Heidi von der Mehden, now our winemaker, in concert with growers John and Diane Bucher. We have wanted to work with these grapes for some years and jumped at the opportunity when two small blocks became available. The combination of Pommard and UCD37 clonal selections is well-suited to this early ripening hillside above Westside Road.

Bucher Pinot Noir

Critical Acclaim

  • 2019

    • 93 points

      "This wine is tightly youthful and bright, with pronounced elements of earthy dried herb, forest and black and white pepper. Broad and expansive on the palate, it shows an opulent fleshiness and dark brooding fruit notes, finishing in toasted oak and a tease of cola."

      Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, November 2021

    • 95 points

      " 'It’s John and Diane Bucher’s commitment to sustainable farming that has been the guid-ing force for their winegrowing,' explains von der Mehden. 'I work closely with them in the vineyard and can attest to the fact that the fruit we get from this site is high-quality and produces powerful yet balanced Pinots.' Beetroot and dark plum unite to bring out sandalwood and basil in this profound wine, in which ripe fruit with a savory side meets superb acid structure."

      Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, Jan/Feb 2022

    • 94 points

      "Located in the Russian River Valley, the ‘Bucher Vineyard’ is planted to Pommard and Merry Edwards clonal selections of Pinot Noir. The palate is silky smooth with a seamless texture and glorious sense of length. Wild blackberry and gran-orange flavors combine with minerals, loamy soils and smoky undertones on the palate. Full-bodied, yet showing some great tension, this outstanding Pinot Noir has another fifteen years in the cellar."

      Owen Bargreen, Owenbargreen.com, Sept. 30, 2021

    Read More Acclaim for 2019
    • 94 points

      "Deep ruby color. So fresh and bright on the nose, with strawberries and cranberry relish, backed up by enticing pepper, violets, bay leaf, tobacco – a lot to unpack. Pure and racy on the palate, a full but fresh appeal with bright raspberries and cherries. Notes of mint, rose petal, cola and anise add complexity, while stony, clay, earthy elements offer a lot to ponder. Is it enjoyable now? Massively, but give it five or eight years and I’d love to see what this turns into. The fourth vintage of this wine, which has been overseen my winemaker Heidi von der Mehden since she took over."

      Isaac James Baker, Terroirist.com, January 2022

    • 9 points out of 10

      "Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of slightly smoky raspberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry notes mix with herbs and powdery tannins that lightly coat the mouth. There’s a faint smokiness in the finish, with a hint of alcoholic heat. Excellent acidity."

      Alder Yarrow, vinography.com, October 2021

  • 2018

    • 91 points

      "The 2018 Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard has a nose of cranberry sauce and blackberries with accents of tar, woodsmoke, earth and graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with restrained, earthy fruits in a soft, fresh frame, and it finishes brightly with citrusy character."

      Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate, August 2020

    • 93 points

      "Even if a bit forward and juicy in its youth, this wine has both admirable depth and hints of complexity on the strongly positive side of the ledger, and its black cherry, cola, roasted nut elements all bloom as the wine sits in the glass. Full yet balanced on the palate with plenty of fruit at this writing and lots of growth lying ahead of it, this one has the pieces to hold up well over a half-decade and more while it gains further gracefulness and range. With a bit of time, this will be a great partner to a rack of baby lamb."

      Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, February 2021

    • 94 points

      "I've always appreciated the 'house style' at Merry Edwards, one where site is king and ripeness is treasured.  The Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir from 2018 delivers lively citrus zest notes over the ripe black cherry fruit, and that zesty character keeps the flavors pumping through an extended finish.  This will sit perfectly alongside saucy salmon dishes up to fattier beef preparations."

      Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, April 6, 2021

    Read More Acclaim for 2018
    • Excellent

      "The Merry Edwards Bucher Pinot Noir 2018, Russian River Valley, lies like heavy-grade silk on the palate, and that’s all that needs to be said in terms of its sensual appeal, except that it’s also a dark and brooding pinot noir, almost syrah-like in nature if not for a filigree of spiced and macerated plums and red currants that gradually opens to notes of cloves, wild mountain cumin, smoldering autumn leaves and chanterelles; it’s definitely a creature of the earthy, autumnal realms, though every element I mention here is inextricably melding in profound balance and integration, a perfect marriage of power and elegance. I think the word 'masterpiece' applies."

      Fredric Koeppel, BiggerThanYourHead.net, April 2021

  • 2017

    • 93 points

      "The 2017 Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard has a medium ruby color and offers woodsmoke, cranberries, Bing cherries, dried flowers, citrus peel and saline aromas on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied and youthfully coiled, taking its time to open up to tobacco-laced fruits. It has firm, grainy tannins and juicy acidity, finishing long and woodsy. Give this another couple of years in bottle—this has lots more to give with a bit more time."

      Erin Brooks, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, December 2019

    • 93 points

      "The Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir, a new addition to the Merry Edwards portfolio, could be considered Heidi von der Mehden’s “baby.”  Heidi, who took over as winemaker with the 2018 vintage, had been working with Merry Edwards since 2015 and was given the responsibility for making the 2016 Bucher Pinot Noir, their first.  The 2017, a large-framed Pinot Noir, combines ripe black fruit notes with fabulous acidity that keeps it fresh and lively.  Not overdone, it carries its 14.5 percent stated-alcohol seamlessly.  Underneath the fruit lies an intriguing and balancing mineral-like tarriness.   A delightful hint of bitterness in the finish reinforces that this wine, as juicy as it is, is not solely about fruit. Refined tannins made it hard to resist now.  This wine bodes well for von der Mehden’s talents."

      Michael Apstein, Wine Review Online, December 2020

    • 91 points

      “The 2017 Pinot Noir Bucher offers a big blast of smoked black fruits, graphite, candied violets, and underbrush as well as a medium-bodied, focused, firm style on the palate that’s going to take a year or two of bottle age. … (T)hese are certainly all solid, impeccably made wines.”

      Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, June 2019

    • 91 points

      "This is a full-flavored, full-bodied wine that shows upfront power and intensity in aromas of black tea, forest floor and wild strawberry. The palate brings black cherry and blackberry richness, with enough juicy acidity to cut through the grippy tannins."

      Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, November 2019

    Read More Acclaim for 2017
    • "Structure and power"

      "Dark brooding aromas that opened through time to reveal citrus blossom and an intense minerality that carried through its long, expressive finish with defined tannins that gave it structure and power."

      Cathrine Todd, DameWine.com, July 2020

  • 2016

    • 93+ points

      "The 2016 Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard has a lovely nose of woodsmoke and tobacco with hints of laurel over a core of wild blackberry, blackcurrant and black cherry with savory/meaty hints. The palate is medium to full-bodied with lovely, spicy black fruits supported by firm, grainy-textured tannins and juicy freshness to lift the finish."

      Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate, April 30, 2019

    • 96 Points / Best of the 3-Puff Wines for 2018

      "Ms. Edwards has come up with a most  impressive collection of Pinot Noirs in 2016 led by this absolutely gorgeous, fully packed offering from the Bucher Vineyard that hits all of the bases from deep and sustained fruit to its impeccable balance and extraordinarily long finish. It is nothing less than a  collectable classic that is certain to rank with the finest Pinots of  the vintage, and, if so polished and well-crafted that it is sure to  tempt early drinking, it is a wine that promises to get even better with time and has the right pieces in place to age famously for a  decade or more. It is not one to miss."

      Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, November 2018

    • 93 points

      "This fleshy medium-bodied red from the Westside Road site tastes of cherry liqueur, cassis, stemmy black tea and forest floor. This is a pretty wine that’s also powerful, with undeniable balance."

      Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, December 2018

    • 94 points

      "A bold blend from a new source for the Merry Edwards winery, and from two blocks that have both Pommard and Edwards’ own UCD37 clones planted. It’s all about the blue -- blueberry and plum dance with fall spice. They evolve into a complex set of aromas and flavors that I won’t spoil for you by naming. The fun lies in experiencing some of that on your own. This is a beautiful Pinot Noir!"

      Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Oct. 23, 2018

    Read More Acclaim for 2016
    • 90 points / "Very highly recommended"

      "Medium ruby; attractive, ripe, spicy, black cherry and dark currant aroma; medium-full body; relatively big, ripe, extracted, textured, dark cherry fruit flavors with good depth and a slight creaminess in the full, rich mouthfeel; medium to medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended."

      Nicholas Ponomareff, California Grapevine, July 2018

    • 90 points

      "High-toned spice contrasts this wine’s dark-fruit density, grounded in earthiness and the near blackness of wild- blueberry skins. It’s tight and formally structured, a wine that should evolve well over the next few years."

      Wine & Spirits Magazine, December 2018

    • 92 points

      "This pitch black colored Pinot Noir from Merry Edwards is rustic in style, but very very good. It opens with fragrant blackberry pie bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium to full bodied, very nicely balanced and rich. The flavor profile is a very tasty smoky cedar and blackberry blend with notes of black olive and a hint of stewed plum. The finish is dry and its dusty, well-managed mild tannins drift away nicely. I would decant this wine and serve it with beef bourguignon."

      Ken's Wine Guide, Sept. 11, 2018

    • "The Bucher Pinot Noir is a FIRST RELEASE. And what a wine! It is concentrated, full bodied, and well balanced: a youthful, mildly tannic wine with years of development ahead. It has complex—and fine—aromas/flavors (cherry, raspberry, strawberry, black tea, rose petal, spicy oak), and a very long and persistent finish."

      Ronn Wiegand, Restaurant Wine, February 2019

    • "Elegant structure"

      "This wine represents Heidi von der Mehden as a winemaker since she made every decision herself. A thrilling, savory nose with fresh tobacco, turmeric and rosemary that was balanced by pretty notes of lavender and blackberry compote that had delicately pixelated tannins that gave an elegant structure."

      Cathrine Todd, Forbes.com, May 23, 2019