This spring in North Texas meant rain: lots and lots of rain. The only thing shocking about all the rain we received was the news explaining it was our 8th wettest spring on record. Eighth?! How could that be? It rained what felt like every day from the beginning of April through May. Good news was all the rain ended a 5-8 year drought, bad news was it brought damaging tornadoes, hail, straight line winds and flooding to many areas of Texas and Oklahoma. Before all the rain began we decided to attend a Thursday night concert event at the Dallas Arboretum with some dear friends. On the day of the event we woke to torrential down pours; however, the rain ended about 2pm, the sun came out and the forecast was cause for hope, with all chances of rain holding off till the next day.
You will recall from my article, “Spring Showers Bring Flowers and Pinot Noir,” how much I love the Dallas Arboretum. It is a majestic haven of beauty and serenity within the hustle and bustle of a big city. The Dallas Arboretum hosts a variety of events and displays throughout the year. Though each event and display is wildly successful, one of their best events is the “Cool Thursday Concert Series.” This concert series runs spring through June and fall from September through October on the large outdoor lawn and stage area that was designed like an amphitheater with no formal seating. It is a huge hit with each week’s show guaranteed to sell out fast.
Our schedules allowed us to attend in late May, where we enjoyed a top quality Eagles cover band on the lawn with great friends, food and wine. The logistics of getting to the Dallas Arboretum on a weeknight by 6:30 are difficult we are not regular attendees of the Cool Thursday Concert Series. However, those that do attend regularly are fully versed in the best ways to enjoy an outdoor event in first class style. There must be some great web sites for picnic style wining and dining because the tables, chairs, wine holders, food service, etc is truly impressive. The high class Dallasistes know how to live well! Furthermore, after subtly surveying those around us I concluded the wine that was flowing was also first class. Though our set up was considerably less elaborate our wine selection was solid.
Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: This wine poured a soft ruby with violet highlights into the glass and opened with brooding aromas of bramble berries, violets and baking spices with a touch of toasted cedar and vanilla. On the palate this medium body 100% Pinot Noir delivered fruit flavors of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and currants; along with spice notes, licorice, mocha and vanilla wrapped in velvet smooth texture. This wine was well-balanced with structured acidity and tannins that integrated well after being opened for an hour. Another example of a California Pinot Noir that offered firm structure with elegantly concentrated fruit, balanced with earthiness, with a velvet mouth feel and a lingering finish! 14.3% alcohol. 91pts Wine Enthusiast. I wish I bought more than one bottle because I would love to taste this wine after more time in the bottle; it will only get better! I paid $44 at Whole Foods Market; SRP at Merry Edwards $39.
Winemaker’s notes: “Our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from five different vineyards located along the cool Sonoma County coast. Each site is within 10 miles of the Pacific Ocean, and so they are strongly influenced by the marine terroir. This mélange contains both classic California selections and the new generation of Dijon clones that thrive in this region.”
We had a picnic style dinner outside at the Dallas Arboretum that we paired with the wine. Our meal was a collection of prepared foods I picked up at my local Whole Foods Market, including: deviled eggs, caprese salad, curried penne salad with peas, dried cranberries and almonds, Mediterranean couscous salad, store roasted herbed turkey breast, edamame, and an assortment of WF cookies from the cookie bar. The setting was perfect and each of the foods paired very well with the versatile Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Additionally, I really enjoyed relaxing on the lawn, listening to the music, conversing with friends and meditating on the wine by itself. It was the perfect picnic wine!
From the Merry Edward’s Winery web site:
One of California’s first woman winemakers, Merry Edwards began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974. She went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977 and remained there until 1984. For the next decade, Merry consulted for numerous wineries, large and small, in Oregon and many diverse appellations of California.
In 1997, family and friends joined Merry to found Merry Edwards Winery, with a focus on producing Pinot Noirs with a sense of place from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Living her dream, she and her husband, Ken Coopersmith, now manage five estate vineyards: Coopersmith, Cresta d’Oro, Flax, Georganne and Meredith. They maintain collaborative relationships with several other dedicated growers to supplement this estate production. Two regional blends and six vineyard designates are bottled.
Completed in 2008, this state-of-the-art facility is located in the heart of Russian River Valley near the town of Sebastopol. Nestled amid the vines at Coopersmith vineyard, tastings educate visitors about Merry’s handcrafted Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Experience wines produced with a genuine sense of place using site-specific viticulture and gentle, traditional winemaking practices. Merry and her husband, Ken, invite you to join them at their estate winery.
“For Ken and me, sustainability is a way of life. Thinking long term about the health of our land, and the future of our family, is embedded in all that we do. My belief is that terroir is not simply longitude, latitude and soil type, but also reflects the input of the farmer.”
I encourage you to visit the Merry Edwards Winery web site to learn more about the winery, schedule a visit, view their entire portfolio of wines, and order a few bottles of the Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
My Song Selection: Since our evening included Eagles music I decided to pair the Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir with my favorite Eagles’ song: Take It To The Limit. The wine was easy and smooth sipping, very pleasant and enjoyable; just like this song.
Get your own bottle of Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!
5 responses to “A Night Under the Stars”
I wish we could have gotten some of that rain up here in Oregon. Our rivers are tiny trickles right now, quite disconcerting. I fear for some of the vines at higher elevations.
I know the west coast is in dire need of rain. We have had so much it has become a huge problem with flooding. We have literally had area lakes go from 20+ feet below level from a 5 year drought to now 20+ feet over level since March! Wish we could somehow ship it to you! Cheers
From what I see, you have already figured out how to picnic first-class at the event!
You should see some of the set ups. All they needed was a chandelier!
Looks like a lovely time!