Friday, May 21, 2010

Duckhorn Vineyards

At Duckhorn Vineyards the setting is lovely and they provide a wonderful tasting experience that shouldn't be missed. No standing at a bar or rinsing your wine glass out at Duckhorn.  At a dining table inside or out on the patio, you will have sparkling wine glasses arranged in front of you, one for each wine sample.  The samples are generous, staff friendly and the wines themselves were consistently good.  After you visit Duckhorn, you might be spoiled and wish that other wineries were this well prepared and visitor friendly.

We started with the Duckhorn Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, which had the usual bright citrus of SBs but with more complexity than most and with a very good refreshing, balanced acid. Next was the Duckhorn Vineyard 2007 Goldeneye Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley which had more substance than many California PNs, with a good, well integrated tannins. 

The Duckhorn Vineyard 2007 Merlot followed with its good, balanced tannins and rich fruit of cherries, along with an unusually pleasant mouth feel.  Back in the 1970s in California, Merlot was only used to blend with cabs and I don’t remember any bottles being labeled as a Merlot.  This was despite the use of Merlot as the predominate varietal in right bank Bordeaux reds. California merlots have come a long way since then and Duckhorn offers one of the better ones. 

The last tasting was a comparative tasting of the Duckhorn Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and their Duckhorn Vineyard 2005 Howell Mountain Napa Valley Red Wine.  The 2006 Cab was very nice, well balanced and full-bodied but quite drinkable now.  The Howell Mountain was obviously not a lower priced, generic red wine that one usually expects from a bottle referring to itself as "red wine." Although primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine had more spice and some earth tones.  It should age well but is quite drinkable now.

Duckhorn has a solid line of very good premium wines. Given the lovely setting, the outstanding presentation for visitors, and the friendly service, Duckhorn is a winery that you will not want to miss. 

Addendum October 24, 2013: I emailed the winery on September 18, 2013 informing them of our new partnership with Google Field Trip and suggesting that we return to visit them do an updated (and more thorough) review that could be included in Field Trip.  So far I have received no response, so this old review is probably the only one we will be doing on Duckhorn.

1000 Lodi Lane
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-7108
Date visited: May 21, 2010

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