2009 Duckhorn "Three Palms" Napa Valley Merlot
*Cellar Selection* This is classic Three Palms Merlot-as excellent as anything Duckhorn has ever produced. It shows the hard tannins that always mark the winery’s Bordeaux-style red wines, but it’s luscious and deep in berry fruit, licorice, grilled meat and cola. It should have no difficulty negotiating the years. Give it until around 2015, but if you can’t wait, at least decant it for a few hours.
Delicately balances a deep structure with rich and supple fruit, showing red currant and cedar aromas and layered flavors of black cherry, tomato leaf and mineral. Tannins suggest this will bloom further with time. Best from 2014 through 2020.
The 2009 "Three Palms" Merlot is composed of 82% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot from the Three Palms Vineyard located on the northeast side of the Napa Valley where Selby Creek emerges from Dutch Henry Canyon. (An interesting fact about this site is that it was once owned by Lillie Hitchcock Coit, one of San Francisco's popular "it girls" at the turn of the 20th century, who threw fabulous parties there and who planted the lone three palms that still grow there today. Coit's addition to another notable Bay Area skyline is San Francisco's Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill). The soils here are rocky alluvial with volcanic stones, which ensure both high drainage and insulation at night for evenly ripened, concentrated and flavor-packed fruit, even in tricky vintages with late rains like 2009. Aged for eighteen months in 100% new French oak barrels, this exhibits intense, ripe red cherry and currant aromas and flavors, with vanilla and clove accents and Three Palms' signature rocky minerality. It is full and rich on the palate, with firm, polished tannins and layers of baking spices woven throughout. There's considerable complexity here; decant to enjoy young or lay away to savor along its evolution.