Night Tasting With Duckhorn

Most trade wine events are on the weekdays in the afternoon. Which makes sense since most people in the industry work odd hours. Sometimes they have a trade tasting in the evening.  Usually they are held at a hip bar somewhere with a vibe that is decidetly less business-like and more social than the day tastings. Last Wednesday I went to one of those tastings at Abe & Arthur’s restaurant in the Meatpacking District. They poured wines from Duckhorn Vineyards and their second labels, Decoy, Migration, and Goldeneye. They also poured the wines from Paraduxx Napa Valley but as the guy who was pouring the wines and who happened to be the winemaker made a point of telling me, Paraduxx is another winery and not the second label of Duckhorn.

First table poured the Decoy wines. A 2010 Sonoma Chard, 09 Sonoma Zin and an 09 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. These are their entry level wines, good bang for the buck, easy drinking.  The Chard my favorite.  At the next table they poured the Migration 09 Russian River Chard, 08 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and the 08 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. This Chard had more restraint than the Decoy Chard, the two Pinot Noir had a noticable smokiness on the finish. In the Summer of 2008, Northern California had more than usual wildfires. All that smoke penetrated the vineyards and you can taste it in the wines. I’ve experienced that smokiness in other wines and not just these. At the next table they poured the two Paraduxx wines, the 09 “C” Blend and the 09 “Z” Blend. These are new releases from them and are both blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel but in different proportions. I thought the wines were a little hard now and can use some bottle age to soften.

At the next table Duckhorn poured a couple of their Merlots. These are the wines they are known for. The 09 Napa Valley Merlot was tight and closed at this stage but with concentrated fruit. The star of the tasting was the 07 “Three Palms Vineyard” Merlot. The wine was decanted from a Jeroboum which is always a nice presentation. Outstanding wine, great balance, still with firm tannings, would love to see this wine in a couple of years.

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