Decoy Merlot 2018
The 2018 growing season began with a cool winter, and just enough rain to replenish the vineyards. A temperate spring followed by mild weather throughout the summer allowed the grapes to ripen at a very measured pace, something we love to see in our vineyards. After several years of early harvests, the relatively mild weather and a healthy sized crop led to a return to more normal harvest times. After enjoying abundant hangtime to fully ripen, the quality of the grapes was extremely impressive. Overall, our 2018 whites and rosé show an ideal combination of lovely fruit-forward flavors and elegance, while the reds are lush and complex, with great color and concentration.
Since the inaugural vintage of our Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine more than a quarter century ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Portfolio 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 renowned winery in its own right.
The Decoy lineup now includes a Sonoma County appellation-designated Red Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a California Rosé, Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wine, all of which highlight Decoy’s commitment to producing attractively priced wines from exceptional vineyard sources.
Fruit for the Decoy program comes from a mix of Estate vineyards and top grower vineyards. From the wealth of viticultural and winemaking talent we can draw from, to our world-class cooperage program and more, Decoy benefits greatly from the remarkable resources of the Duckhorn Portfolio.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.