LCBO Vintages Release
Duckhorn Vineyards produces a roster of top-tier Napa Valley wines, but its roots are anchored deep in Merlot. When the winery was established in the late 1970’s, many Napa Valley properties were using Merlot as a component in blends. A great fan of Merlot since traveling through St. Emilion and Pomerol, Dan Duckhorn felt that this elegant varietal was under-appreciated in North America: The softness, the elegance, the texture. It was Duckhorn who pursued Merlot’s potential as a stand-alone varietal in California.
In 2015, the final blend combines 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc aged 15 months in French oak (40% new). The growing season delivered a classic expression of Napa Valley Merlot: a warm, dry spring resulted in early budbreak, while an extended flowering period brought a return to normal yields after three years of abundant crops. The small berries offer great concentration while retaining excellent acidity. 2015 was one of Duckhorn’s earliest harvests in the past decade, even with light mid-September rain nourishing the vines and providing additional hangtime. The quality of the fruit was exceptional, with the reds displaying a fine balance between elegance and intensity and deep dark fruit flavours.
This gorgeous wine is one for the hedonists. The combination of grace and structure make this a classic expression of Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot. On the palate, it is lush and supple, with a flashy entry and juicy layers of Bing cherry, raspberry, and plum, along with blueberry, cedar, vanilla, and cloves. Underscored by polished tannins, the ripe fruit on the entry evolves into a lush, silky texture marked by fine tannins. This is another Duckhorn Merlot with potential to age well.
“Showing a subtle floral note and spice on the nose, the 2015 Napa Valley Merlot from Duckhorn, its most basic Merlot, is inviting and delicious from start to finish. This vintage offers a complex palate of juicy red and black fruits, exceptional balance and a long finish. “
94 points, Robert Whitley, Aug 2018