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Decoy Merlot 2010

Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    For more than three decades, Duckhorn Vineyards has been crafting exceptional Merlots. Drawing on the winemaking team's expertise working with this varietal, the 2010 Decoy Sonoma County Merlot is 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.

    Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

    Critical Acclaim

    Decoy
    Decoy, , California
    Decoy
    Since the inaugural vintage of Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine more than 20 years ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Wine Company family of wines. With a reputation for delivering great quality at a remarkable price, Decoy has established a loyal following for its distinctive style, which emphasizes ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth. Building on this foundation, Decoy has evolved from being a single wine that supported the Duckhorn Vineyards brand to being a supporting brand for the entire Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio.

    Today, in addition to the Decoy Red, the Decoy lineup includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc—all of which are appellation-designated, and highlight Decoy’s commitment to producing attractively priced wines made from exceptional vineyard sources.

    Because of Duckhorn Wine Company’s unique structure, Decoy benefits from the talent, experience and expertise of all four Duckhorn Wine Company winemakers, each of whom has a unique area of specialization. Like all the grapes used to make wines in the Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio, fruit for the Decoy program comes from a mix of Estate vineyards and top growers. Decisions about which lots are used in Decoy are not made until well into the winemaking process. As a result, Decoy’s grapes receive the same meticulous care in the vineyard, and the same small-lot attention to detail in the winery.

    Sonoma Valley

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    Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley AVA was first planted with vines by Franciscan monks in 1823. It was the site of one of California’s first successful commercial wineries, and the region where French oak barrels were first utilized for aging California wines, thus creating the rich and voluptuous style of Chardonnay the state has become known for.

    This geologically and climactically diverse district is capable of producing a wide variety of wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and, most notably, Zinfandel, where ancient vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit. These are commonly produced as “field blends” along with Petite Sirah, Carignan, and other dark-fruited varieties.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

    In the Glass

    The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

    RPT93397399_2010 Item# 114868

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