I’ve said it before – I don’t know why we don’t use the word “merry” outside of the holiday season. It’s so good! So when I meet someone whose name is Merry and also makes good wine, it makes me extra merry.
Merry Edwards has been around for a long time in the wine industry – not something many women can say. In 1973, she was one of only three women who graduated from UC Davis (and the only one who went on to become a winemaker). I meet a ton of female winemakers now, but back then it was obviously much rarer. Merry kept getting offered jobs as a lab technician rather than as a winemaker, but she kept at it and the rest is gender game changing history.
Marika Vida, the wine director at the Ritz, does these awesome dinners celebrating women winemakers, so Merry was perfect for it. (The dinners also benefit the Crossroads Community Women’s Shelter at St. Barts.) We tried two Sauvignon Blancs, two Chardonnays, two Pinot Noirs and a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc with dessert. Merry actually ages her Sauvignon Blanc in barrels as opposed to stainless steel. Barrels give it a rounder, more mellow feel. But that changes year by year (to which Merry says, “Duh!”). We tried the 2012 (lots of groovy pink grapefruit and lemon, the more typical flavors) and the 2011 which was more yellow apple and actually more interesting just because it wasn’t what I’d normally expect.
Also, not only do I love the word/name Merry, but the label is equally festive with three women dancing. Obviously, they’re sort of nude but I didn’t really even think about it until I heard there was a whole controversy around it. David Lance Goines, an artist who’s also done stuff for the restaurant Chez Panisse and the winery Kenwood, originally had the women fully naked, but it wasn’t legally allowed so they added the ribbon. The label is actually STILL banned in the state of Michigan! The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir labels are nude-less, but sucks for them that they can’t get the yummy Sauvignon Blanc. You can get them all here though.