Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley Estate Grown 2009
This wine displays all of the benefits of slow, even ripening during a mild growing season. Though there is fullness and a lush character to this Merlot, there is also restraint and elegance. Promising aromas of cherry, red plum, raspberry, and dried herbs lead to a clean fresh entry with impeccably balanced acidity supporting intense red fruit flavors of cranberry, plum and raspberry. Round, supple tannins provide an enticing framework for the flavors and contribute to a lingering finish.
Co-founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has spent a quarter century establishing itself as one of North America's premier producers of Bordeaux varietal wines. From its modest inaugural vintage of 800 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 800 cases of Merlot in 1978, to its addition of Sauvignon Blanc in 1982, Duckhorn Vineyards has crafted a tradition of quality and excellence that continues today.
Editorial Reviews for Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley Estate Grown
Plump black fruit aromas and warm baking spices mingle on this inviting nose. Flavors are full of warm California sun - they're big ripe and juicy, with clove, blackberry, toast and black cherry. Clean and well balanced wine, worthy of Duckhorn's name as a Merlot of quality.
At first oaky on the nose but air quickly brings out attractive blackcurrant and herb notes that help to lend the aromatics some balance here. Nice freshness and weight on entry carries through across the palate with some woody tannins and a touch of caramel and fudge topping the modest red berry fruit here. The finish is relatively bright and fresh, if short. Nothing out of place, but at the same time this is an awfully safe wine. 85pts
Milk chocolate and oak greet the nose followed by an attractive blend of lightly vegetal curranty fruit. The oak is a touch dominant at the moment but smells light and fresh, and mouthwateringly savory. Very smooth and supple on the palate, there's a lot to like here. This is balanced and polished but not boring or dull on the palate with hints of raspberries in cream followed by red currant and slightly dried plum fruit. The oak is obvious but well-balanced with a touch of nuttiness and toast on the finish where the tannins reassert themselves, but not in an unpleasant way before jammy red currant fruit grabs hold of the moderately long finish and drives it home with a hint of vanilla. I do like this but it is a bit paint by numbers, making it a very safe choice. 88pts
Really beautiful top note of pale cigar wrapper, a coy nose, lots of lurking fruit, red raspberry, mocha, hazelnut nougat, smoke, oak, spice and a touch of herb. Big and layered with some airy space between the shell and core of this wine. Quite youthful, a nice silky feel to the tannins, the fruit is prominent but nicely ripe and with deep red currant and dried strawberry tones. A bit of wood tannin rasps across the midpalate a bit and the alcohol it a touch high but the slightly creamy, oak tinged fruit remains fresh. The finish is a bit of a let down as there’s not much length or development and the oaky turns a bit raw. In a year or two this should be at a better place but this still is a nicely proportioned Napa Meritage. 91pts
Black cherry, vanilla, tobacco leaf, herbs, earth, and a touch of French oak are all nicely balanced. This is seamless on entry with excellent purity of black cherry fruit. The acidity creeps up on you a little but the fruit is very precise and fresh with lovely suggestions of herb and tomato with fine shadings of cigarbox and cedar. This is refined and elegant with excellent length in a surprisingly fresh and juicy style that really highlights the red fruits. 93pts
A bit tight and matte on the nose with a pipe tobacco tone to the wood spice, jammy cassis, smoky mineral, buttered toast and braised herbal notes emerge. With air this goes through a rough period showing a chemical edge and a bit too much SO2. This is fairly big and chewy with a lot of depth to the rich crème de cassis, wood spice, roast meat, and candied red cherry fruits. A bit minty with a background eucalyptus note that helps keep things fresher. Turns a bit more stiff and aggressive on the back-end, which is drying but very long with that menthol/spearmint tone hovering over the slightly flat, candied blackberry fruit. This ends up being just too extracted and flat with clumsy tannins compressing the very drying finish. 2011-2020 87pts
My favorite vineyard for Merlot. This affordable label takes the guess work out.
Four and a half glasses
Cherry jam and thick oak on the uptake. Citrus peels commingle with leather gloves on the tongue. Tangy zing-zag on the finish.
They should put warning labels on wine that's this easy going down. It was delicious before, during, and after dinner.
Very nice wine with fillet mignon. Smooth and not over-powering.
Great qpr. Very smooth, but grows more bold
Normally I'm not a huge Cabernet Sauvignon fan, however, this is not your normal cab. Comparatively, it's fairly light bodied. If you're looking for a big robust cab, keep looking. If you like cabs, and are entertaining someone who likes something a little less bold, give this a go! The bouquet featured notes of Chocolate, Black Cherry, a little vanilla. Then on the taste it had a slight plum & black cherry taste, tinged with oak. A lingering berry taste rounds out this well balanced wine. Wouldn't stand up to a ribeye, but I wouldn't hesitate to pair this with a lean cut like a Chateaubriand or Filet. Ready to drink immediately.
External Reviews for Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley Estate Grown
This classic Cabernet showcases elements of currant, cherry, plum and olive. Great body and a long finish!
Not just an entrepreneur but a true visionary, Dan Duckhorn was the first Napa winemaker to see the potential for Merlot as not just something to blend with Cabernet but as the primary grape in a great Napa Valley wine. He founded his winery on that premise and the rest is history. No other Merlot from California has achieved the success, the accolades or the following that Duckhorn enjoys. The wines are always highly allocated and snapped up by legions of loving admirers. The 2012 growing season offered near-perfect growing conditions. Warm weather during bloom allowed the vines to set a large crop and increased yields were the result of more berries, not larger berries. This translated into even higher quality in the winery, as the skin-to-juice ratio remained ideal. A blend of 88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec aged 16 months in 25% new French oak barrels. It shows exceptional structure and depth with velvety tannins and alluring fruit. From aromas of black plum, crème de cassis, violet and Herbes de Provence to enticing flavors of blackberry, sticky toffee and vanilla bean, this is a complex and compelling Napa Valley Merlot.
Comments from the Winemaker: This appealing wine offers classic Merlot aromas of ripe plum and red cherry, with hints of caramel, white pepper and graphite. On the palate, lush red fruit layers are supported by excellent tannins and seamlessly integrated oak. Varietal Content: 82% Merlot 8% Cabernet Sauvignon 6% Petit Verdot 4% Cabernet Franc Cooperage: 100% French Oak Château-Style Barrels (60 Gallons) 12 months in 35% New Oak Alcohol: 13.5% TA: 0.57 g/100 ml pH: 3.69
Since 1978, Duckhorn Vineyards has been exploring the character and complexity of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Drawing on our winemaking team’s expertise working with this varietal, Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon offers a rich and appealing expression of the varietal crafted to be ready upon release. Comments from the Winemaker: The 2012 vintage has yielded a lush and appealing expression of Decoy Cabernet with alluring black cherry and raspberry jam aromas, as well as more subtle notes of nutmeg, spice and chocolate. On the palate, lovely layers of raspberry and plum are supported by excellent structure and seamlessly integrated oak. Varietal Content: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc 2% Petit Verdot Barrel Aging: 12 Months in 100% French Oak, 35% New pH: 3.76 Alcohol: 13.5% Titratable Acidity: 0.57 g/100 ml
Lush and enticing with aromas that strike an appealing balance between vibrant cranberry and deeper, dark berry notes, with sophisticated hints of white pepper and forest floor. The palate is rich and beautifully structured, offering a lush core of dark, ripe fruit wrapped in smooth, firmly textured tannins.
Not just an entrepreneur but a true visionary, Dan Duckhorn was the first Napa winemaker to see the potential for Merlot as not just something to blend with Cabernet but as the primary grape in a great Napa Valley wine. He founded his winery on that premise and the rest is history. No other Merlot from California has achieved the success, the accolades or the following that Duckhorn enjoys. The wines are always highly allocated and snapped up by legions of loving admirers. The 2012 growing season offered near-perfect growing conditions. A blend of 88% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec aged 16 months in 25% new French oak barrels. It shows exceptional structure and depth with velvety tannins and alluring fruit. Wine Spectator scored this 90 points saying "Focused and deeply structured, with bold blackberry and cedar aromas and flavors, accented with a plush texture and notes of cherry, tobacco and mineral. Drink now through 2022." And Wine Enthusiast Magazine scored it 91 points saying "Benefiting from a larger percentage of Three Palms Vineyard fruit than ever before, this majority Merlot also holds Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The result is a density of rich, soft and spicy red fruit supported by structured tannins. This is ready for the table and a wide range of pairings."
For years now Duckhorn Vineyards has produced a Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend under the Decoy label, and Duckhorn fans have enjoyed its distinctive forward style and its first rate quality at a great price. Well the people at Duckhorn knew a good thing when they saw it, and they expanded the Decoy line into varietal wines like this lush Cabernet Sauvignon. Accessing prime grapes from vineyards in Sonoma County, they've created this value Cab that's pure Duckhorn and drinking beautifully right now. The 2012 vintage offered beautifully ripe, top quality fruit. It's a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 35% new French oak for 12 months. All for Under $25. Duckhorn does it again!
Food Pairings for Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley Estate Grown
Aged 15 months in French Oak.
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