Wine Spies' 15 Year Anniversary

Duckhorn 2018 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot

Duckhorn 2018 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot

The Cathedral of Merlots...
D 96
WS 94
The Cathedral of Merlots...

Mission Codename First duck in a row

“Duckhorn is a wine company on the move, built on Merlot grown around three of the most famous palm trees in the Golden State.” – Wine Spectator

My uncle said, “we can’t all be cream.” But today we have three offers from Duckhorn - and they are ALL CREAM.

In a sea of Napa wines, these consistently rise to the top.

We start BIG with the mythical Three Palms!! Almost no comparison, and very little competition. After 40+ years it remains a benchmark for Merlot. Not just in Napa… but anywhere in the world.

The Three Palms Merlot hardly needs any exposition. The 2016 ranked #1 Wine of the Year globally on the Spectator Top 100. The 2017 earned the #15 spot. This vineyard-designate has been made since 1978 from the legendary Three Palms. This prized up valley vineyard sits between Larkmead & Eisele. Together, they produce some of the most prestigious wines in the entire Napa Valley.

You’re getting this 96-pointer at the world’s best price, naturally. Needless to say, we’re walking around with our chests puffed out a little more than usual.

Having tasted many of these wines over the years - (and they age wonderfully, too) - this delivers the goods in a BIG way. It’s loaded with black cherry, dried figs, and savory spices. It’s fleshy and polished, with a medium to full body. Ripe plums meld perfectly with rich blackberry jam, blueberry chutney, and warm cherry pie nuances. It manages to be dry with ultrafine tannins yet with all the imaginary sweetness of complex fruits, and spices. Perfectly integrated French oak accentuates the deft winemaking, capturing this legendary Napa vineyard in all its glory and purity.

For winemaker Renée Ary as quoted by Wine Spectator - “Three Palms site is a somewhat counterintuitive one for Merlot. It is one of the warmer areas in the valley, located just south of the town of Calistoga, whereas Merlot is typically grown in cooler conditions. Ary credits Three Palms’ pedigree to the rocky volcanic soils formed by an alluvial fan that forces the vines to set down deep roots, resulting in grapes bursting with concentrated fruit flavors. ‘Three Palms is a unique site for Merlot,’ Ary explains.”

If you love top-shelf Napa Valley reds, you already got a few. If you don’t love Merlot, you should grab at least one, because frankly, this will reshape your entire perspective, varietally speaking.

Very little of this one before we move to Cab, and our crystal ball says it will not last long at all.

96 Points – Decanter

“Opened for 45 minutes before tasting. From the iconic Three Palms Vineyard, which delivers structured, elegant, and long-lived Merlot. This vintage has 89%, plus 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% each of Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged 18 months in 75% new French oak. Resonant and explosive aromas belie any preconceived notions of the Merlot grape: heavenly black berries, plums and Chinese five spice. The palate boasts robes of silken black fruit, satiny blueberry and lavish oak spice infused with vanilla. With more time in the glass, elegant floral notes emerge, with long, fine-grained tannins buttressed by tangy acidity. The Cathedral of Merlots, with imposing structure and a towering presence – a sheer joy to drink. Drinking window 2021-2035.”

94 Points – Wine Spectator

“Elegantly structured and featuring concentrated cherry tart and raspberry pastry flavors that are loaded with toasty richness. Creamy and spice-filled finish is backed by firm acidity and tannins. Drink now through 2026.”

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What the Winery Says 2018 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot

Renée Ary
89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Malbec
Calistoga, Napa Valley
Three Palms Vineyard
Total acidity
0.55 g/100 ml
18 months
100% French oak: 75% New, 25% Neutral

About the Winery Duckhorn

Duckhorn Winemaker Renée Ary
Duckhorn Winemaker Renée Ary
Duckhorn 2018 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 750ml Wine Bottle
Offer Expires Today at 11:59 pm
Duckhorn 2018 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 750ml Wine Bottle
Offer Expires Today at 11:59 pm