Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A nicely crafted 2017 red with berries, plums and hints of dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Medium body, creamy tannins and a savory finish. Pretty fruit at the end. Drink or hold.
Duckhorn takes rich and supple Napa Valley merlot in an elegant direction. While there may be a lot of juicy blackberry fruit, along with a toasty, smoky presence of oak, both of those elements serve to elevate the texture. Rather than complexity, this wine is all about supple pleasures, with nothing out of place.
With dark fruit at its core, this wine offers thick, concentrated power alongside accents of sage and clove. The fruit is black cherry and plum, rich enough to be jammy, with plenty of support from toasted oak and baking spice nuances.
Here is rich, well-mannered Merlot that puts a heavy emphasis on the very specific, black cherry fruit of the variety and comes with a trim bit of sweet oak that serves to enhance its steady and sustained richness. It is moderately full-bodied and fleshy in feel with well-integrated tannins that firm without being at all intrusive, and, if neither as deep nor as far-reaching in range as its companion from the Three Palms Vineyard, it is a thoroughly tasty Merlot, that, if possessing mid-term aging potential, is a polished, well-made example that those who are a bit short on patience are certain to find inviting if uncorked and enjoyed in the very near term.
Founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has been crafting classic Napa Valley wines for nearly 40 years. This winemaking tradition has grown to include seven meticulously farmed 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. Pioneering and perfecting Merlot as a premium varietal, Duckhorn Vineyards now makes several elegant Merlot and distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings that showcase its premium vineyard sites. Duckhorn Vineyards has been named one of the “Top 100 Wineries” in the world eight times by Wine & Spirits, and the 2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Three Palms Vineyard was named the “2017 Wine of the Year,” topping Wine Spectator’s annual list of the world’s “Top 100 Wines.”
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.