Duckhorn Napa Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
To make a Merlot that could compete with the great Merlot-based wines of the right bank of Bordeaux, we began by sourcing fruit grown primarily in alluvial soils, those with high water drainage and little topsoil. This type of soil produces intense fruit that translates into aromatic and complex wines. Our Napa Valley Merlot is a blend of several individual vineyard lots. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and occasionally Petit Verdot make up the final blend. We keep each individual vineyard lot separate through the fermentation and barrel-aging process. After roughly 16 months in oak, the various lots are evaluated and blended, then put back in the barrel to marry for an additional two months. The bright fruit and forward nature of our Napa Valley Merlot pairs well with grilled meats and wild game, wild berry sauces, hearty pasta dishes and Pacific Northwest salmon.
Our Napa Valley Merlot is a complex and ageable expression of the varietal, highlighting the rich diversity of the Napa Valley appellation. A product of the exceptional 2007 growing season, this wine's hearty tannins and balanced acidity provide a textural framework for an enticing array of aromas and flavors that begin with notes of bright red cherry, plum, tobacco, vanilla and anise. On the palate, layers of fig, red currant, almond, cedar and sweet spice are revealed, along with a subtle doughiness that lends to an appealing mouthfeel. The final wine has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Petit Verdot to add nuance and depth.
89% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot
Wine Enthusiast - "As usual with Duckhorn's red wines, this Merlot is more tannic and acidic than most anything coming from Napa Valley. They're emphasizing structure over decadence. But that's not to say there aren't rich, elaborate berry, cherry, currant, chocolate and cedar flavors that provide bang for the buck. Very elegant and refined, this Merlot should be decanted before serving."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "This outstanding effort from a long-time champion of Merlot conveys all of the plush and outgoing black cherry fruit that marks the very best varietal bottlings. It is full and fleshy with just the right touch of structural grip, and it has real potential for growth even while being inviting now. It will satisfy in the short term with a juicy Porterhouse steak, but it is bound to get better and will gain in complexity for six to ten years."
Founded in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has been crafting Bordeaux varietals from the Napa Valley for over 30 years. This winemaking tradition has grown to include seven estate vineyards, located throughout the various microclimates of the Napa Valley. Focused on quality and consistency, these estate vineyards are an essential element in making wines of distinction. One of the first wineries to pioneer Merlot as a premium varietal, Duckhorn Vineyards now makes several elegant Merlot and distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings to showcase the characteristics of its vineyard sites. In addition, the winery is known for its acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc. Beginning with the 2006 vintage, Duckhorn Vineyards unveiled The Discussion, a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend that represents the pinnacle of Duckhorn's portfolio. View all Duckhorn Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.