2015 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.
2015 delivered a fantastic growing season on the high mountain slopes of Atlas Peak, resulting in a complex and compelling wine with alluring aromas of black plum, raspberry and boysenberry. The aromas are echoed on the palate, where they mingle with hints of black tea, licorice, cocoa powder and rose petal. A bright acid backbone frames the rich flavors, with firm, round tannins providing the potential for this wine to age beautifully for years to come.
In Napa Valley, a warm, dry spring resulted in any early budbreak, while an extended flowering period brought a return to normal yields after three years of abundant crops. With berry weights down, the grapes offered great concentration, while retaining excellent acidity. We had one of our earliest harvests in the past decade, with our first white grapes arriving at the winery on July 31st. A light rain in mid-September nourished the vines, while providing welcome additional hangtime. Overall, the quality of the fruit was exceptional, with our white wines showing both richness and complexity, and our red grapes displaying a fine balance between elegance and intensity, with gorgeous dark fruit flavors.