At first sniff an intriguing combination of smoked meat, raspberry jam, caramel, dried herbs and toasted oak awaken the olfactory senses. The varied scents will tempt you to taste and the flavors of chocolate, coffee, black cherry and blackberry seems to dominate the palate. Well integrated tannins balance with the ripe fruit and conclude with a lingeringfinish that is accented with sweet oak.
(From 2011 Vintage) A classically nuanced expression of Three Palms Vineyard, this wine combines beautiful layers of red currant, pomegranate, blackberry and Santa Rosa plum with sophisticated hints of star anise, leather, sage and cedar. On the palate, fine talc-like tannins add a velvety elegance, supporting the fruit and carrying the wine to a long, pleasurable finish.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(From 2003 Vintage) 11% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Petit Verdot; 7% Cab. Franc. Of the three Duckhorn Merlots tasted this month, this one stands just a slight bit apart from the others by dint of the suggestions of mint, heather and dried herbs that bring a different twist of complexity to its aromas. It is, however, very much in step with its kin when it comes its ripeness and very rich, cherry-like fruit, and, but for an undisguised flare of finishing heat, it would join its siblings with a two-star award.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(From 1999 Vintage) 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 4% Petit Verdot; 2% Cabernet Franc. Taking ripeness as its central theme, this sweet, caramel-tinged wine makes good use of creamy oak while delivering a fair bit of direct cherry-like fruit. Richer to start than it is at the finish, it is fairly plush and mouthfilling, yet it tends to dryness at the end and shows just a hint of closing heat. Albeit wholly likeable in a direct and fairly tasty style, it is the least compelling wine of the current Duckhorn bunch.
Wine Spectator(From 1986 Vintage) Rating: 88/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 07/31/89
Wine Spectator(From 1989 Vintage) Rating: 89/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 05/31/92