90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
2018 Duckhorn Vineyards Carneros Napa Valley Merlot
After falling in love with Merlot during a visit to Bordeaux, Dan Duckhorn started producing Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot in 1978. In the years since, grapes from the Napa portion of Carneros have played a pivotal role in our Napa Valley Merlot program. Influenced by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean, Carneros is ideally suited for growing exceptional Merlot, yielding a wine with beautiful structure, velvety texture and lovely layers of plum and mulberry.
Varietal Composition: 95.8% Merlot, 4.2% Cabernet Sauvignon
Enticing aromas of cherry, wild strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and pomegranate leap from the glass, followed by hints of sweet leather, rhubarb, bay leaf and baking spices. On the palate, this wine is plush and inviting, with energetic acidity and dusty, fine-grained tannins providing structure and nuance to the voluptuous red fruit flavors, while carrying the wine to polished berry and spice finish.
For both red and white grapes, 2018 offered near picture-perfect growing conditions, with mild spring and summer weather, and no significant heat events. The conditions were ideal for both our Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, which show beautiful tropical notes and ripe flavors at low sugars. While our Chardonnay harvest began about three weeks later than normal, the fruit arrived at the winery in pristine condition, producing dynamic and complex wines. The excellent growing conditions naturally resulted in a slightly larger than average crop for our red Bordeaux varieties, with fully lignified seeds at low sugars levels. With temperate weather throughout fall, we were able to pick each block at optimal ripeness, yielding exceptionally juicy and polished red wines, with plush, well-rounded tannins, and lovely overall structure.
0.59 g/100 ml
100% French Oak: 50% New, 50% Neutral; Aged 16 months