90 Points - Wine Advocate
2010 Duckhorn Vineyards Atlas Peak Napa Valley Merlot
We produced our first Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot in 1978. In the years since, mountain-grown grapes have played an essential role in our Napa Valley Merlot program. Atlas Peak’s temperatures can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than the valley floor, and its high-elevation vineyards are largely above the fog line. This results in long, even ripening that delivers exceptional Merlot vintage after vintage. Our Atlas Peak Merlot displays beautiful concentration with briar berry character alongside wild spice and herb notes.
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Varietal Content: 100% Merlot; Cooperage: 100% French Oak Château-style Barrels (60 Gallons); Age of Barrels: 80% new, 20% second vintage
The mountain-grown grapes of Atlas Peak produced a Merlot with exceptional concentration and structure in 2010. Aromas of dried cherry, red currant, cream soda and nutmeg segue to mouthfilling red fruit flavors, as well as hints of peppermint and oak-inspired notes of toasted almond, cinnamon and cedar. This is a wine that will benefit from aeration in its youth, and promises to be quite long-lived.
Due to a wet spring and mild growing season the 2010 harvest started two weeks later than we would normally expect. Later, milder seasons tend to result in wines of fine elegance and balanced natural acidity. This is exactly what we see in our white wines and the best reds from superior locations. During harvest the conditions (a strong heat wave and then significant late rains), caused us to be very diligent in the vineyards fine tuning the fruit and making timely picking decisions. In the winery we took precautions to be respectful to the characteristics of the fruit and feel that has resulted in wines of character and intrigue.
Released: May 2013
September 30—November 3, 2010
0.58 g/100 ml titratable acidity
15 Months in Barrel
10-12 days fermentation at 80°F
Wine Review Online