“Duckhorn Vineyards: An Insight into American Fine Wine”
Dutch wine importer Pallas Wines recently invited us for a Californian winetasting and masterclass, showcasing some of the latest additions to their wine portfolio. After an extensive search through California they selected four wineries and their wines, a mixture of wines from different appellations. We are sharing some of the highlights and backgrounds for the wineries that have been selected. In this article we are taking you to Napa Valley and introduce you to a true American Icon: Duckhorn Vineyards.
Situated in the heart of California’s renowned Napa Valley, Duckhorn Vineyards stands as a testament to over four decades of world-class winemaking. Established in 1976 by the iconic duo, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, the winery has carved a niche for itself with its commitment to excellence and passion for viticulture.
From its inception, Duckhorn Vineyards has been synonymous with premier Merlot, inspired by Dan Duckhorn’s admiration for the wines of Bordeaux. Over time, however, their portfolio has grown to encompass a variety of exceptional wines, each showcasing the rich tapestry of terroirs found within the Napa Valley and beyond.
Duckhorn Vineyards stretches across a whopping 445 hectares of vines across ten different wineries, spanning prestigious appellations such as: Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast/Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, Anderson Valley/Mendocino, Central Coast/Mt Harlan, Paso Robles and Red Mountain, Washington State.
The reputation of Duckhorn Vineyards is not just built upon its exceptional wines, but also on its people. With leadership from President & CEO Alex Ryan, who boasts an impressive tenure of over 35 years with the portfolio, and the collective efforts of a dedicated team, Duckhorn continues to set the standard for American fine wine.
Duckhorn Vineyard Collection
Pallas Wines will be importing wines from three members of the Duckhorn group, Duckhorn Vineyards, Postmark and Greenwing. A short introduction to each group member and its head winemaker.
Renee Ary stands as a beacon of winemaking excellence at Duckhorn Vineyards. With a deep-rooted passion for viticulture and an innate understanding of the nuances of the vine, Ary has made a significant mark in the world of American fine wine.
Entrusted with the legacy of Duckhorn Vineyards, Renee Ary crafts wines that capture the true essence and complexity of Napa Valley. Under her stewardship, the vineyard continues to produce bottles that are synonymous with quality, depth, and elegance.
Ary’s meticulous approach to winemaking, combined with her keen palate, has led to the creation of wines that are both balanced and vibrant. She has an adept ability to understand and amplify the natural characteristics of the grapes, ensuring that each bottle from Duckhorn Vineyards remains a true reflection of its terroir. Her leadership and vision have solidified the brand’s reputation, making it a household name among wine aficionados and critics alike.
Pallas will be importing Duckhorn’s Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Postmark, an illustrious label within the Duckhorn Vineyards’ family, echoes the elegance and character of the Napa Valley, focusing on the production of wines that truly capture the essence of their origin.
Winemaker Katie Povah brings a unique blend of passion and precision to Postmark, ensuring each bottle captures the vibrancy and allure of Napa Valley. Postmark wines, crafted under the meticulous supervision of Katie, are renowned for their depth, complexity, and true representation of the Napa Valley terroir. Whether it is a robust Cabernet Sauvignon or a crisp Chardonnay, each bottle is a testament to the rich heritage and tradition of the region.
Pallas will be importing Postmark’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
Emerging from the Columbia Valley’s heart, Greenwing captures the spirit and grandeur of Washington State. With its unique terroir and climate, Greenwing focuses on crafting wines that balance power with finesse, resonating with the character of the region.
Winemaker Joe Czarney is instrumental in harnessing the essence of the Columbia Valley, producing wines that are both sophisticated and approachable.
Greenwing’s wines, under Joe’s expert guidance, mirror the distinctiveness and diversity of the Columbia Valley. From the lush Merlots to the structured Cabernet Sauvignons, Greenwing ensures a memorable tasting experience, drawing praise for its commitment to quality and authenticity.
Pallas will be importing Greenwing’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
We were granted the opportunity to taste and review a number of the Duckhorn wines, which will be available in the Dutch market.
Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2020
- Vineyard: Napa Valley (Oak Knoll, Carneros, Calistoga, Rutherford, Yountville)
- Grape: Merlot: 80%, Cabernet Sauvignon: 17%, Cabernet Franc: 2%, Petit Verdot: 1%
- Ageing: 15 months in 40% new French oak, 60% neutral
- Tasting Notes: Vibrant aromas of red currant, ripe plum, black raspberry, and cherry with subtle hints of baking spices, tea leaves, and cocoa. Rich palate with silky tannins, flavors of red berries, pie crust, and fig compote lead to a bright, elegant finish.
An American Classic that will please your table guests, extremely food friendly and versatile, with the capability guide you through a fine lunch or dinner. We award this Merlot with a 90-point DWA score.
Duckhorn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
- Vineyard: Napa Valley (Rutherford, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll, St. Helena, Calistoga)
- Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon: 91%, Merlot: 7%, Cabernet Franc: 2%
- Ageing: 16 months in 50% new French oak, 50% neutral
- Tasting Notes: Alluring aromas of huckleberry, cardamom, graham cracker, dark chocolate, and violets. The palate reveals juicy flavors of ripe boysenberry and black tea, complemented by finely textured tannins and a bright, balanced acidity, culminating in a long and elegant finish.
If you are looking for a little more character and depth this Cabernet has you covered. Its richness and depth go hand in hand with a tasty balance. We award this Cabernet Sauvignon with a 90-point DWA score.
Duckhorn Napa Valley Chardonnay 2021
- Vineyard: Napa Valley (Carneros, Napa Valley, Atlas Peak, Oak Knoll, St. Helena)
- Grape: 100% Chardonnay
- Ageing: 90% barrel fermented, 10% tank fermented. Aged in 40% new French oak, 60% neutral.
- Tasting Notes: Begins with captivating aromas of lemon cream, orange blossom, Key lime, and candied pineapple. The palate is enveloped in a silky mouthfeel, buoyed by energetic acidity, showcasing vibrant orchard-fruit flavors like pear and white peach, with nuances of brioche emerging in the prolonged, refined finish.
Expressing the different terroirs of Napa Valley this captivating Chardonnay is extremely fulfilling. A wine that remains on your mind with each sip, showing richness and hugging you like a soft blanket. We award this Chardonnay with a 90-point DWA score.
Famed initially for its premier Merlot, Duckhorn’s portfolio has blossomed to encapsulate a rich array of wines that capture the diverse terroirs of regions spanning from Napa Valley to Washington State. With a staggering expanse of estate vines in multiple prestigious appellations, the vineyard’s heart and soul remain its people. Guided by the winemaking expertise of individuals like Renee Ary, Katie Povah and Joe Czarney Duckhorn has cemented its place as a paragon of American fine wine.
Pallas Wines has put some serious effort in researching California and its most prominent wine regions. The result of their search shows a wide array of great wines, suited for every day drinking or special occasions. Wines from iconic wineries and appellations, but also talented prospects. The mentioned wines by Duckhorn Vineyards will be imported in the Netherlands by Pallas, and available partners in trade and hospitality. The exact composition of the portfolio will most likely change and evolve over time, and some of the wines are only available in very low quantities and sold on allocation basis.
We would like to thank Pallas Wines for sharing these wines with us, and Brian Bostwick (Export Director at Duckhorn Vineyards) and Duckhorn Vineyards for their time and the insights they shared. Picture credits: Duckhorn Vineyards.