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Friday, October 26, 2007

2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot

This Napa Valley Merlot is far to young to fully appreciate but it's fun to bring the readers the tasting notes before the wine is completely mature and when it's available to purchase in your retail shops. Duckhorn was recently acquired by GI Partners, a private equity firm who now own a controlling interest in the winery, but it is still too early to see a significant impact in operations that would effect the wine and how it is being made. Until now however, this wine has garnished great fame and credentials over the years and has been a benchmark for Napa Valley Merlot for at least a decade. (See my post on Tom Rinaldi a few days ago for a profile of the former winemaker who made this wine famous).

The wine is dark in color and reveals seductive aromas of black licorice, big ripe blackberry, tar, and cassis. The flavors unfold after a few hours of decanting and show dark fruit characteristics of blackberry jam, and cassis followed by unctuous and chewy notes of licorice, tar, and a mineral-lead type flavor. It's quite obvious that this wine is so bold because of the oak treatment and the fact that it was bottled very recently but I see true potential for a big, powerful, and full bodied Merlot that has real structure and will age with grace.
The tannins are important to study while tasting this wine and I say this because if the tannins were ruff and harsh, instead of firm and delineated, then I think we would score this wine very differently. As it stands I score this wine 91 points.

 
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