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“In Napa Valley’s warm Mediterranean climate it’s easy to make big, ripe boring Merlot, wine devoid of personality. But in the right location, and with the right approach, it can deliver very fine wine, and in one special vineyard, truly wonderful wine, the best California Merlot there is: Duckhorn Vineyards’s Three Palms vineyard in Calistoga.”
“The Best California Merlot Ever”, Nick Passmore, Forbes, Dec 2015
One of California’s legendary vineyards, Three Palms is revered for its history and its benchmark wines. The team at Duckhorn has crafted a vineyard-designated Merlot from this property since the inaugural vintage in 1978. Named for its three iconic palm trees, the warm, up-valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, producing an intense, age-worthy wine with complex layers of fruit and minerality.
In Napa Valley, the 2014 growing season delivered the third in a string of exceptional vintages. It yielded wines with excellent concentration, elegant tannins, and pure varietal flavours. Though the winter was one of the driest on record, heavy rains in February and March delivered much-needed moisture at just the right time. A warm spring triggered early budbreak, while ideal summer conditions resulted in perfectly ripe grapes with focused flavours and resolved tannins. Harvest decisions were not constrained by challenging weather, so picking could be timed solely by flavour.
The result? A riveting expression of Three Palms Vineyard Merlot, with a rich entry and dense layers of dark red fruit, cedar, graphite, and cream. Pure and polished on the palate, these flavours are underscored by firm, structured tannins and subtle sweet oak that will ensure it ages wonderfully for years to come.
“A powerful red, with concentrated flavors of red plum, cherry and boysenberry that are layered with plenty of rich spice and mineral accents. Touches of slate and cardamom make for a complex finish. Drink now through 2023.”
95 points, Wine Spectator, Aug 2017
“Soft and layered, this perennially impressive vineyard-designate speaks highly of the variety, showing balanced offerings of plum, dark cherry, leather and spice. A smoky oak character lies beneath the fruit, complementing it well, while an expansive tannic presence supports the wine’s overall breadth and depth. Big boned, this is built to age yet entirely enjoyable now.”
94 points, Wine Enthusiast, Dec 2017
Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year, WS Top 100 of 2017