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.
99% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% French Oak Château-style Barrels (60 Gallons)
Barrel Aging: 15 Months
Age of Barrels: 80% new, 20% second vintage
The mountain-grown grapes of Atlas Peak produced an intense and age-worthy wine in 2011 with concentrated aromas of Bing cherry, red currant, plum, leather and wet stone. On the palate, dusty mountain tannins underscore layers of red fruit, with oak-inspired notes of cedar and baking spices adding complexity to this firmly structured wine.
In one of the coolest growing seasons in memory, we benefited greatly in 2011 from our 35 years of experience farming Bordeaux varietals. To counteract uneven vine growth due to unusual spring weather, we did meticulous green thinning. We also gently opened up the canopy to expose the fruit, were judicious in our picking schedule, and sorted meticulously both in the vineyards and winery. The majority of our Merlot came in before the October rains, and due to our quality adjustments the remainder of our fruit fared well until it was harvested. Warm up-valley locations like Oakville, Rutherford, St, Helena and Calistoga were particularly successful, and overall the resulting wines are pure and elegant.