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Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2007

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WE92
  • CG92
14.5% ABV
  • WS92
  • WW92
  • CG91
  • WS90
  • W&S90
  • WE90
  • WW91
  • WE91
  • TP91
  • JS90
  • WS90
  • RP90
  • WE91
  • WE92
  • WE92
  • CG90
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • WE90
  • WE92
  • W&S90
  • WE94
  • CG91
  • RP90
  • WE92
  • WS90
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Try the 2014 Vintage 104 97
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
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.
CG 92
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.
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Duckhorn

Duckhorn Vineyards

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Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
2007 Napa Valley Merlot (1.5 Liter Magnum)
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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

DWCMERMAG_2007 Item# 110127

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