2012 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.
Varietal Content: 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc; Cooperage: 100% French Oak Château-style Barrels (60 Gallons); Age of Barrels: 95% New, 5% Second vintage
This is a voluptuous and powerful Merlot, with complex aromas of blackberry, cherry compote, vanilla, and spearmint on entry followed by plum and hints of pencil shavings. On the palate, its intense mountain structure persists throughout, adding depth and nuance to flavors of blackberry, pomegranate, mahogany, allspice and dark roasted coffee beans.
The 2012 growing season offered near-perfect growing conditions. Though budbreak was late due to heavy spring rains, warm weather during bloom allowed the vines to set a large crop. Increased yields were the result of more berries, not larger berries. This translated into even higher quality in the winery, as the skin-to-juice ratio remained ideal. Slightly cooler-than-average post-veraison weather and a lack of any heat events allowed for greatly extended hang time. Harvest was 2-3 weeks later than average, and the grapes arrived at the winery in pristine condition.