2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Stout Vineyard
Stout Vineyard is located at approximately 1,700 feet in the Howell Mountain appellation–one of the Napa Valley’s most sought-after, ultra-premium winegrowing regions. As a result of its elevation, topography, soils and climate, Howell Mountain consistently produces a dark, dense and structured Merlot displaying rich wild berry and herb characteristics. In keeping with its mountain origins, this wine is supported by ample tannins, yielding a complex, age-worthy expression of Merlot.
Luscious and alluring, this wine begins with aromas of currant, cranberry, cherry blossom and red plum. On the palate, vibrant acidity and fine-grained tannins provide an elegant framework for the pure, polished fruit flavors, with hints of wet stone, orange peel, star anise and sweet baking spices emerging as it unfurls in the glass before gliding to a rich, lingering finish.
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.