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 2018, the final blend combines 82% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.4% Cabernet Franc, 0.4 % Petit Verdot and 0.2% Malbec aged 15 months in French oak (40% new). For both red and white grapes, 2018 offered near picture-perfect growing conditions, with mild spring and summer weather, and no significant heat events. The excellent growing conditions naturally resulted in a slightly larger than average crop for the red Bordeaux varieties. With temperate weather throughout fall, each block was picked at optimal ripeness, yielding exceptionally juicy and polished red wines, with plush, well-rounded tannins, and lovely overall structure.
A classic expression of Napa Valley Merlot, this wine offers alluring aromas of lush cherry, raspberry, cocoa and freshly baked pie crust. The cherry and raspberry notes are echoed on the silky palate, where fine-grained tannins and flavours of ripe plum, blueberry, licorice and subtle baking spice draw the wine to a long, elegant finish.