2017 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard 40th Harvest

Year: 2017
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA-California
Wine Spectator: 96
Connoisseurs' Guide: 93
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
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2020 WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100: #15

"Powerful, rich and complex, with a refined mix of currant, dark cherry and plum tart flavors backed by suave, medium-grained tannins. Well-defined slate and loamy notes stretch out nicely on the finish, with black olive hints. Drink now through 2027. 4,678 cases made. -K.M." (WS)

"Taking its accustomed place among the very best Merlots of the vintage, Duckhorn's iconic Three Palms bottling is, once again, a near-succulent effort that is generously appointed with beautifully focused, optimally ripened, black cherries, but deep fruit is only one part of its appeal, and its layered, sweet oak and loamy soil complexities along with its impeccable structure and balance impart a degree of seriousness that separates it from the pack. While so rich as to tempt early drinking, this is a cellar-worthy Merlot that is destined to evolve famously for years, and there is simply no questioning its ability to become ever more involving as the next decade unfolds. Reviewed: October 2020" (CG)

Winery Notes:
Since our inaugural 1978 vintage, we have been proud to craft a vineyard-designate Merlot from the legendary Three Palms Vineyard. Named for its three iconic palm trees, this warm, up-valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, yielding a profoundly intense and age-worthy wine with complex fruit and mineral layers. As a testament to its status as the benchmark for New World Merlot, in 2017, Wine Spectator honored our 2014 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot as “Wine of the Year.”

The 2017 growing season began with abundant winter rains, followed by a warm, dry spring that led to a perfectly timed budbreak. In addition to replenishing the water table, the early season rains produced robust canopies, which provided invaluable shade during a week-long heat event that kicked harvest into gear during the last week of August. This was followed by a much-needed cooldown that allowed the vines to recuperate, while also giving us extra hangtime for flavor development and tannin resolution. We harvested throughout September and into early October, with the grapes showing lovely ripeness and quality, yielding plush, polished and wonderfully complex wines.

Once again, the famed Three Palms Vineyard has yielded a fascinating and full-bodied Merlot. Luxurious aromas of black cherry, plum, raspberry, cedar and wet slate rise from the glass where they mingle with hints of chocolate and sweet baking spices. On the palate, dusty tannins add nuance and sophistication to a round, fleshy texture, with flavors of black and red fruit, fig and iron-rich earthy notes drawing the wine to a long, resonant finish.