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Guided Tasting

Biography

With more than 20 years of global marketing, winemaking and viticulture, sales, public relations, and export experience, few can boast a story as dynamic or as deeply entrenched in the wine industry as Nicole Carter. Her career can only be described as tenacious, leaving virtually no part of wine business untouched. Early on, Nicole spent 10 years in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA working in the public affairs sector practicing lobbying and public relations on behalf of several beverage alcohol companies. From there she helmed luxury brands across Napa, Sonoma and Australia while becoming a leading expert on California appellation regions. In 2019 she was appointed President of Merry Edwards Winery, and in 2021 she broke ground when she became the first President of Roederer, USA. Today the umbrella company is comprised of five California wineries (including Merry Edwards), each distinct in their oenological footprint, with a shared passion for crafting world-class wines. Nicole is a Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators and holds additional certifications from WSET and CIA.

Scharffenberger Cellars

Sprouted & grown in Mendocino County, Scharffenberger Cellars has defined premium California sparkling wine since 1981. Founder John Scharffenberger harnessed his background in biogeography to draw similarities between the Anderson Valley’s seasonal growing temperatures with Champagne appellations. In 1981 he struck an agreement to purchase Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from the Valley Foothills vineyard in the Anderson Valley. Unparalleled grapes, artisanal craftsmanship, & the age-old techniques of méthode traditionnelle resulted in classic sparkling wines from an emerging region. The early successes of these wines allowed for brand expansion, building a state-of-the-art winery, & put the Anderson Valley and Mendocino County on the viticultural map.

Wine 1: Scharffenberger Brut Excellence NV

Scharffenberger Brut is made by the méthode traditionelle process, whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. The wine is approximately 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. The full malolactic style adds a vanilla cream character producing a round and full-bodied wine. After approximately two years on the lees, there are notes of freshly baked bread and pastry that enhances the more fruit forward style of the wine. Finally, after several months on the cork, the wine develops caramel and hazel complexors.

Appellation: Mendocino County | Varietals: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir | Wine Alcohol: 12.5% | pH: 3.12 | Residual Sugar: 10 g/L | Aging: Minimum of 2 years en tirage and 6 months under cork | Cases Produced: 20,000

“A well-rounded, supple texture surrounds attractive toast and nut flavors in this suave and mouthfilling wine. Notes of biscuit, peach and toasted bread give it a nice sense of maturity and complexity.” Wine Enthusiast, Jim Gordon

Wine 2: Scharffenberger Brut Rosé NV

Scharffenberger Brut Rosé is made by the méthode traditionelle process, whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. Most of the base wines underwent malolactic fermentation, which softens and rounds out the blend. The fruit balance and color are achieved by adding between four and five percent of Pinot Noir wine to the blend before undergoing second fermentation in the bottle. Brilliant rose gold bubbles, delicate berry fruit aromas, and a seamless texture reveal the precision craftmanship behind this classic expression.

Appellation: Mendocino County | Varietals: 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir | Wine Alcohol: 12.5% | pH: 3.15 | Residual Sugar: 10 g/L | Fermentation: En tirage: 2 years on the yeast | Aging: Minimum of 2 years en tirage, 6 months under cork | Cases Produced: 14,000

“This crisp and classy wine tastes dry, tight but complex from the persimmon and raspberry aromas to the lively white-raspberry and white-peach flavors. It has taut acidity balanced by touches of spicy maturity that keep it interesting through the lingering finish.” WE, Jim Gordon

Domaine Anderson

Domaine Anderson is nestled in the breathtaking, fog-cooled hillside & mountain terrain of Northern California’s Anderson Valley. The cooling marine layer that is characteristic of this region provides ideal conditions for the cultivation of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Domaine Anderson’s 13.7 acres of Chardonnay vineyards span from the warmer, up-valley Boonville area to the cooler regions closer to the Mendocino coast. They reside on the valley floor, gently sloped knolls, steep hillsides, & offer soils ranging from rocky, river gravels to the finest clay loams.

Wine 3: Domaine Anderson Chardonnay 2018

Grapes for the 2018 Domaine Anderson Estate Chardonnay are handpicked at night from selected 4 estate blocks in the Anderson Valley, embodying the diverse mesoclimates spanning our warmer site to the south-west & our cooler sites, towards the Pacific. Primary fermentation is done in small French 60-gallon barriques & following is the malolactic fermentation which generally lasts through the spring to conserve vibrancy & freshness. Wine is aged for 10 months in barrel with very limited new oak.

Tasting Notes: Pale yellow straw and lucid in the glass. The 2018 Estate Chardonnay has plenty of richness and complexity of aroma with hints of preserved lemon, apricot and a light reduction, reminiscent of crushed white rocks. On the palate, savory notes of thyme herb, dried flowers and grilled pear are balanced against a fresh and snappy acidity. Smooth and long finish. Pairs beautifully with grilled cod, whole lobster with butter, roasted lemon chicken, pasta with béchamel sauce, asparagus risotto, and various goat cheeses.

Varietals: 100% Chardonnay | Wine Alcohol: 13.1%  | Titratable Acidity: 5.9 g/L pH: 3.33 | Fermentation: 95% barrel fermented | New Oak: 8% new oak barrels  | Aging: 10 months in barrel |Cases Produced: 1300

Winemaker Darrin Low

Merry Edwards Winery

One of the first women to become a California winemaker, Merry Edwards began her career in 1973 with the philosophy that winemakers should strongly imprint wines with their own personalities. She founded her eponymous winery in 1997, embracing site-specific viticulture in the Russian River Valley. Her work there would ultimately shape the landscape of this preeminent North Coast appellation. Today the winery is known for critically acclaimed Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay on 80 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards. Merry’s legacy continues in the capable hands of winemaker Heidi von der Mehden and president Nicole Carter. They remain committed to producing balanced wines of exceptional depth and elegance.

Wine 4: Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2019

Made of grapes from marine-influenced vineyards, this lively, versatile Merry Edwards Pinot Noir has all of the characteristics we look for in our Sonoma Coast appellation blend: elegant yet approachable, food-friendly but able to stand on its own. The lifted, aromatic nose is filled with bright red raspberry, red currant, notes of sandalwood & a hint of vanilla, along with touches of forest floor, earthy evergreen & cocoa. Round & generous, it offering up layers of juicy red cherries & refreshing acidity. While bright and engaging now, an underlying core of lushness shows it possesses the elements to develop over time.

“Creamy red fruit and light stemmy spice adorn this soft, silky wine from coastal sites. It shows an opulent mouthfeel and teases of rose and forest floor. Cranberry, pomegranate and rhubarb come to mind on the palate, as full-bodied tannins and oak contrast it all.” Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, November 2021

Wine 5: Merry Edwards Meredith Estate

Merry Edwards purchased this piece of land in 1996 & transformed it from an abandoned apple orchard into her first Pinot Noir vineyard. Since that time, Meredith Estate has grown in stature to become the winery’s flagship bottling. The nose of this wine starts with inviting notes of vanilla cream, fresh blackberries, baking spices & plums. Elegant & refined on the palate, this Estate bottling has a purity of fruit & silky, well-integrated tannins. Brooding black fruit notes & bittersweet chocolate intertwine with a core of well-balanced acidity. The finish is long, bright & mouthwatering — an effortless marriage of intensity and grace.

“The 2019 Pinot Noir Meredith Estate offers lots of ripe red and black fruits as well as classic Russian River spice, cola, and brambly herbs. It’s beautiful on the palate, with integrated acidity, ripe tannins, and outstanding length. This thrilling, complete Russian River Pinot Noir will drink well for a solid decade or more, although there’s no need to delay gratification.” Jeb Dunnuck, Jebdunnuck.com, July 2021

Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden and Merry Edwards