Our understanding of how to choose the best Pinot Noir clone to highlight a specific terroir continues to grow. For my own part, I have come to recognize some of the classic California selections as best suited to warmer sites within Russian River Valley. The Pommard that is planted exclusively at Flax Vineyard is a perfect example of a good match for this northern location along Westside Road.
The choice of a single clone for this hillside property has created a Pinot Noir with a clear, focused message. It prefers aging in barrels crafted by just two Burgundian coopers: barriques made by the house of Dargaud et Jaegle add a tone of refined spice, while those crafted by Tonnellerie Cadus deepen and accentuate the fullness of the wine.
The bouquet displays a rich, intense cherry character, reflecting its pure clonal heritage. Accents of violets, a bit of vanilla toasted oak and warm spices round out this appealing Pinot. The full, generous palate is loaded with bright, firm fruit. Initially the tannins seem firm, yet they melt into a rich cocoa-laced finish. You will surely enjoy this wine well into the next decade.
We find this sturdy Pinot Noir a good match for hardy fare like herb-crusted leg of lamb, three-cheese baked pasta or Cornish game hens stuffed with veal and smoked ham.
"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."
Edward Deitch, Vint-ed, Jan. 29, 2010
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