Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot 2017
Once again, the famed Three Palms Vineyard has yielded a fascinating and full-bodied Merlot. Luxurious aromas of black cherry, plum, raspberry, cedar, and wet slate rise from the glass where they mingle with hints of chocolate and sweet baking spices. On the palate, dusty tannins add nuance and sophistication to a round, fleshy texture, with flavors of black and red fruit, fig and iron-rich earthy notes drawing the wine to a long, resonant finish.
Blend: 91% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc,1% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The three palms at this vineyard line the valley floor at a seam of rocks between St. Helena and Calistoga. That rocky soil has proven to be a great medium for the roots of merlot vines, allowing them to ripen cool fruit in the midst of a hot place. This 2017 is luscious, layering high tones of strawberries with darker depths of black cherries and herbs. Its richness would be delicious with rare filet mignon.
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.”
One of Napa Valley’s oldest wine growing subregions but last to gain appellation status, Calistoga occupies the northernmost section of the valley. Beginning at the foot of Mount St. Helena, its vineyards stretch over steep canyons and roll out onto the valley floor. The soils in Calistoga are volcanic, which means they are heavy in minerals, low in organic matter and allow good drainage for vine roots, creating less green growth and more concentration of flavor within the grape berries.
Summer days are very hot but most nights cool down with moist ocean breezes sneaking in over the Mayacamas Mountains or from Knights Valley to its northwest.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the area’s star variety with Zinfandel coming in a strong second, though the latter commands far less price per tonnage so continues to be outshined by Cabernet in vineyard acreage, save for some important exceptions.
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.