2012 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Three Palms Vineyard
Recently delcared "The Best California Merlot Ever" by Nick Passmore, we completely agree that our Three Palms Merlot is among the best of the best.
Since our inaugural vintage in 1978, Duckhorn Vineyards has been proud to craft a vineyard-designate bottling from Three Palms. One of California’s first single-vineyard Merlots, this full-bodied wine reflects Three Palms’ unique terroir and has been a consistent benchmark for New World Merlot. Named for its three iconic palm trees, the warm, up valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, producing an intense, age-worthy wine with complex fruit and mineral layers.
Varietal Content: 89% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot; Cooperage: 100% French oak château-style barrels (60 gallons); Age of Barrels: 75% New, 25% Second Vintage
This is a classic expression of Three Palms Vineyard, with vibrant red fruit bursting through on the entry, followed by layers of licorice, wet stone and earth that reveal themselves on the mid-palate. Though the tannins are prominent, adding gravitas to this iconic Merlot, there is a lovely refinement to them that beautifully accentuates the flavors of blueberry, warm spice cake and Santa Rosa plum.
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.
Fortunate to have both 2012 Napa valley Merlot next to 2012 Three Palms. While Napa Valley Merlot was excellent, the Three Palms shoes deep layers of tobacco, fruit and leather. A fantastically long finish that I seemed to carry through the night. A fellow taster made a remarkable statement that Three Palms was the Screaming Eagle of Merlot! She was right. Unforgettable!!!
(Feb 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM)
At Duckhorn Vineyards today, nose of dark fruit, plum, cigar box, allspice and dusty forest floor, more of the same on the palate, big body, elegant taste, complex, and delicious today but probably merit a higher score in three years and last fifteen years, wonderful finish and aftertaste.