2005 | 2006
Wine & Spirits Magazine
A dense and potently extracted style of merlot, this has smoky black cherry flavors that edge toward creosote and tar. It also has the warmth of the sun on rocky soils, like those at Duckhorn’s Rector Creek Vineyard, a relatively cool site that provides the core of this blend. It softens with air, as it will in the company of a steak.
The winemaker succeeded, in this so-so year, in crafting a rich, nuanced wine of considerable interest. It may not be a longterm ager, but it’s delicious now, with deep flavors of blackberries, red currants, violets, cocoa and smoky oak, balanced with the prettiest acidity. Grows better in the glass as it breathes.
Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online
Few can remember when Merlot was all the rage in California wine. That was some two decades ago and leading the charge was Duckhorn, which staked its claim as a Merlot specialist at a time when most New World vintners saw Merlot as little more than a blending agent to soften the big Cabernets of the day. Duckhorn wasn't the first Napa Valley winery to produce a varietal Merlot, but it quickly assumed a position as the best. Nothing has changed. Duckhorn Merlot continues to dazzle, and the 2006 Estate Merlot is no exception. This is a seductive wine, exhibiting ripe red-fruit aromas, spice, and beautifully soft tannins. The combination of power, depth and excellence are characteristic of Duckhorn's benchmark wine, and the '06 has all three in spades. A bit pricey, but this is one expensive wine that truly delivers the goods.