2017 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 Composition: 100% Merlot; Oak Profile 100% French oak - 50% new, 50% neutral
In recent years, the cool, mountain slopes of Atlas Peak have gained acclaim for yielding some of Napa Valley’s most beautifully complex and structured Bordeauxvarietal wines. With its head-turning aromas, robust mountain structure and alluring layers of lush fruit, this wine shows why. On the palate, flavors of brambly blackberry and cherry mingle with more savory elements and French oak-inspired hints of vanilla
and spice, with bright underlying acidity and rustic tannins promising a long life in the cellar.
The 2017 growing season began with abundant winter rains, followed by a warm, dry spring that led to a perfectly timed budbreak. In addition to replenishing the water table, the early season rains produced robust canopies, which provided invaluable shade during a week-long heat event that kicked harvest into gear during the last week of August. This was followed by a much-needed cooldown that allowed the vines to recuperate, while also giving us extra hangtime for flavor development and tannin resolution. We harvested throughout September and into early October, with the grapes showing lovely ripeness and quality, yielding plush, polished and wonderfully complex wines.