Sunday, March 21, 2010


Recently, I had the honor of attending a wine tasting of thirty plus wines from California's DUCKHORN Vineyards. Winebow, Duckhorn's distributor, hosted the event at Del Fresco's restaurant in midtown Manhattan.
The event was a crown jewel of what a 35 year old wine company can achieve.

With Winebow's founder, Leonardo LoCascio present, I knew this would be a wonderful tasting.

John Proto, Winebow's answer to Robert Parker, led me through the tasting.

Founded in 1976 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, this Napa Valley vineyard has found it's own way in the crowded world of winemaking.

Dan Duckhorn has had a fascination with Merlot since visiting Pomerol and St. Emillion in the 70's. He liked the softness and velevety texture of merlot, as well as it's potential to match well with a variety of foods. Plus, the aging process was faster than many other red grape varietals.
Dan decided to focus on Merlot and started buying fruit and land that would yield the highest quality grapes for his wines.

In 1988 a group of selected properties were purchased in Napa to insure consistent sources of fruit, year after year. Today, Duckhorn consists of seven properties, both in Napa Valley and in Howell Mountain.

Bill Nancarrow is the winemaker.
He has many grape profiles to choose when making his wines due to the opposing topography of Napa Valley and Howell Mountain.

The grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted. Only the ripe fruit is harvested, thus creating numerous harvests per vineyard. Twenty-five differnt types of French oak is used, thus creating numerous flavor profiles.

Duckhorn wines are World Class wines that create the perfect wine experience.

The wines I tasted were all Bordeaux blend wines, made from Merlot (80%), Canernet Sauvignon (15%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%). These percentages, of course, change year to year. Plus, Petit Verdot has only been used since 1998.
Duckhorn only releases their wines when they are ready to drink. The last Merlot released was the 2005 vintage.

Duckhorn wines are priced from $45 per bottle upwards. Their quality is unmatched and is well worth their suggested retail prices. If you have not experienced Duckhorn, now is the time to try these 'Exceptional Wines'.

My hat is off to Dan and Margaret Duckhorn for having the foresight and wisdom to attempt such a project. Thanks to them, we are all WINNERS!!

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