2009 Duckhorn "Three Palms" Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #1090449 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *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.  (10/2012)

92 points Wine Spectator

 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.  (11/2012)

K&L Notes

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.

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Price: $89.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5