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Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2006

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WW96
  • WE92
  • CG90
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

Our Napa Valley Merlot is a complex blend of several individual vineyard lots, incorporating fruit from our Estate Vineyards and from top independent growers throughout the Napa Valley. The final wine is a rich and cohesive expression of the entire Napa Valley, reflecting the varied microclimates and soils of this unique appellation.

Our Napa Valley Merlot captures the balanced character of a young wine, while embodying the diversity of the entire Napa Valley appellation. The product of a standout Merlot vintage, the Merlot in 2006 offered an excellent expression of the varietal and required very little blending with other grapes—with only small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot used to add subtle complexity. This Merlot offers a rich texture, ripe tannins and seamlessly integrated French oak. The bouquet displays lush layers of ripe plum and bright raspberry underscored by notes of sandalwood, walnut and spice. On the palate, polished flavors of red cherry and raspberry are accented by an enticing layer of graham cracker piecrust.

96% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

WW 96
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com

Black-garnet hue. Lovely mixed aromas of blueberry, raspberry and kirsch. A rush of black cherry fruit on entry laced with flinty mineral accents and fine-grain, youthful tannins. Creamy fruit marks the finish. Taut in structure and cellar-worthy. A prime example of power and finesse: classic Napa fruit, true to its varietal character, crafted into a memorable, prototype Merlot.

WE 92
Wine Enthusiast

... very rich, very ripe, and sweet enough in fruit and oak to drink now with a nice steak. Floods the mouth with blackberries, cassis, chocolate, violets, mushu plum sauce, licorice and cedar. Best now through 2012.

CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide

Duckhorn grabs the brass ring again with this ripe and luscious effort whose classic sweet cherry aromas are laced with complex notes of cassis and creamy oak. On the palate, the wine is silky, supple and balanced and is nicely packed with bright red cherry fruit. Full in body but never heavy in any regard and noticeably tannic without being hard, this one is drinkable now yet can be cellared for three to five years.

RP 90
The Wine Advocate

Deep garnet-purple colour. Warm plum and blackberry aromas on the nose with a touch of dark chocolate, cloves and vanilla. Full body, medium to high acid and lots of blackberry and spice flavour. Soft to medium level of velvety tannins. Long finish going a bit earthy. Tasted July 2009.

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Duckhorn

Duckhorn Vineyards

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Duckhorn Vineyards, , California
Duckhorn
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.

Ribera del Duero

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An increasingly popular source of high-quality bold red wines...

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An increasingly popular source of high-quality bold red wines, the Ribera del Duero region of north-central Spain has begun to rival neighboring Rioja as one of the country’s best in its category. Set at high elevation in the valley above the Duero River (which continues east into Portugal where it is known as the Douro), it has a relatively short growing season, posing a risk of spring frost. Temperatures vary wildly between day and night as well as throughout the year, making this a relatively high-risk viticultural region. Nevertheless, since the 1980s, after a long lull in relevance, Ribera del Duero has experienced a surge in popularity as winemakers from throughout the world have recognized its high potential.

Tempranillo, known locally as Tinto Fino, is the primary variety, often vinified on its own. Here, it takes on a more robust persona than in Rioja, with deep color, structured tannins, and a healthy dose of acidity. It has all of the necessary qualities to create balanced wines, but is occasionally blended with international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. A small amount of rosé is made from Garnacha. White wine is uncommon here and typically reserved for local consumption, and can only be made from the aromatic Albillo grape.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity...

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

WBW30071036_2006 Item# 96696

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