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Duckhorn Vineyards

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Rating: C
Apr 3rd, 2005
1000 Lodi Lane, St Helena, CA 94574

Phone: 707 963 7108

Hours: 10am - 4pm

Club/Discounts: 10%-20% Discounts

Tasting Fees: $25 Private Tasting

D rating for a private tasting with Jim Shook. Ask for Jim!! Note that this rating is for the private tasting. The regular tasting would not be as high. Regular tasting: B-C. On initial entry you could be mistaken for thinking you have entered a country inn or restaurant. The glass walled cellar is more for show but still a nice touch. There is sometimes a wait for tasting in the tasting room. While you don't get to mingle with other customers at the bar, the privacy of a table or outdoor lounge chairs will appeal to many. Private tastings are much more intimate and a great way to learn about the winery and wines. $25 is not unreasonable for 5 good quality wines. Duckhorn make excellent red wines and because they seem to sell out of them every year, they do not provide any discounts. If you can afford it, the private tasting is the way to go as you get the added personal touch along with tasting their best wines. We have done this several time with Jim, one of the tasting managers and get excellent service every time. May 1st 2010: We attended the Duckhorn Open House which is always a great event. One thing we have noticed is that Duckhorn are going more "commercial". Perhaps they are starting to mass market. They have introduced a wine club and seem to be producing a lot more wines. Personally we thought the quality of wines has gone down. They no longer produce the classic Howell Mountain Merlot (replaced by the Howell Mountain Red); they have a Stout Merlot (Howell Mountain) and they replaced the Rector Creek Cab with a Merlot. The wines all seem to have shorter finishes.

Sort by : Vintage / Name / Rating
1999 Howell Mountain Merlot ($60)Rating: D
Dec 25th, 2005
      Best Wine - December, 2005

Great nose, great fruit and a favourite with turkey for Christmas dinner - never disappoints
2001 Patzimaro Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: D
Oct 23rd, 2004
Darkest of the Cabernets, full fruit on the nose, coasts the tongue with berry flavours and a long balanced finish. An excellent Cabernet - this should age for years.
2002 Howell Mountain Merlot ($70)Rating: D
Dec 9th, 2006
Best wine of the day with very tough competition. This is a fantastic wine. Very, very smooth. Perfectly balanced.
2004 Patzimaro Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: D
Feb 17th, 2008
"Black cherry". Beautiful wine. Big fruit. Cab Franc seems to balance the wine. Long finish, excellent silky smooth.
1997 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($99)Rating: C-D
Jan 18th, 2007
      Best Wine - January, 2007

Great aroma on opening the bottle, certainly not corked like a recent 97 Howell Mtn. Nice chewy tannins and excellent long finish. Very drinkable, excellent with a thick steak.
2001 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($85)Rating: C-D
Apr 3rd, 2005
Best of the Duckhorn tasting of the day on release in spring 2005. Robust and full bodied wine with heavily structured tannins. Long, fantastic finish. Great aging potential. Not as big as 2001 single vineyard cabs, but may appeal to broader audience.
2001 Howell Mountain Merlot ($70)Rating: C-D
Feb 18th, 2006
Improved since the earlier tasting. Wine ages longer in the barrel due to the small mountain grapes.
"April, 2005: Not as good as hoped, based on their 99 HM. The wine definitely got better and better the longer we left it. Huge finish; Will age for another 5 years."
2001 Stout Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: C-D
Oct 23rd, 2004
Another excellent Cabernet. Dryer than the other vineyards, but with rich fruit and another big finish.
2002 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: C-D
Feb 18th, 2006
Wow - This is a beautiful wine. Huge structure, integrated tannins, layered fruit - very smooth. Could develop into a "D" rating in years to come - second visit that we've tasted this wine it is and getting better every time.
2002 Monitor Ledge Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: C-D
Feb 18th, 2006
      Best Wine - February, 2006

Smells not unlike a Bordeaux, lots of oak and dark fruit. Rich flavours and an impressive finish - should develop in years to come.
2003 Estate Merlot ($85)Rating: C-D
Dec 9th, 2006
Much bigger than the regular merlot, with more fruit up front and big, integrated tannins at the end. This wine will be excellent in a few years
2003 Rector Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: C-D
Dec 9th, 2006
Very big Cab. Huge finish with big fruit up front. Great potential but definitely needs to sit down for a while. Would love to try this again in a few years
2004 Estate Merlot ($85)Rating: C-D
Feb 17th, 2008
Super smooth. Well balanced and very drinkable. Excellent fruit with tannins.
2004 Oakville Merlot ($70)Rating: C-D
Jul 7th, 2007
      Best Wine - July, 2007

We tried the Oakville Merlot twice. Once at the winery and then at home two days later with a bottle that had been open for a day. The wine that had been opened for a while was stunning. Extremely smooth with great fruit and finish. This is a new Merlot for Duckhorn
2004 Rector Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: C-D
Feb 17th, 2006
"Fruits of the forest". "Coats the tongue". Big fruit & finish. Very good. How will it last ? 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
1997 Howell Mountain Merlot ($60)Rating: C
Oct 21st, 2007
Tasted twice, one bottle was corked, the other . May be a storage issue,
1997 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50)Rating: C
Dec 25th, 2009
Still lots of fruit, robust tannins. An excellent wine with mouth filling fruit of damson and black cherries.
1997 Napa Valley Merlot ($50)Rating: C
Dec 25th, 2009
Very balanced, good meaty body and smooth tannins to finish. Went well with turkey and still has a few years left
1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50)Rating: C
Apr 25th, 2008
Dark claret colour, tastes of dark berries and currants. Good tannins and structure filling the mouth with a medium finish
2000 Monitor Ledge Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: C
Dec 3rd, 2007
Extremely dark cork, almost black. First taste - needs to open up. Decanted for 2 hours - beautiful wine. Drinking very well, lots of fruit with a smooth finish.
2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($55)Rating: C
Sep 1st, 2007
Had to decant it for over an hour. Very smooth and well balanced. Had decent fruit left but losing the tannins so I probably would not hold onto it too much longer. Very nice wine though
2001 Decoy Cabernet Franc ($24)Rating: C
Dec 29th, 2006
Good ruby colour, well balanced with a nice finish, but not too long. Good Cab Franc - one of the favourites of the night.
2001 Estate Merlot ($80)Rating: C
Oct 23rd, 2004
Very smooth - not as big as the Howell Mountain merlot, but still a smooth balanced wine.
2001 Monitor Ledge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: C
Oct 23rd, 2004
Dark colours, well balanced cabernet with a long finish. I always thought Duckhorn were known for their Merlots - but this is great. Should age well.
2001 Three Palms Merlot ($75)Rating: C
Oct 23rd, 2004
Good colour - dark and rich - long legs on this wine. More earthy than the Estate, with a lingering finish.
2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)Rating: C
Apr 3rd, 2005
A medium to full bodied and elegant wine with smooth, velvety tannins. Ready to drink upon release; will age well for 5-15 years.
2002 Three Palms Merlot ($80)Rating: C
Feb 18th, 2006
Great structure, lots of berry fruits with chocolate and tobacco undertones. Nice balance, will drink well for years.
2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($90)Rating: C
Dec 9th, 2006
Tastes of blackberry and chocolate. Great deep red color and beautiful nose. Big tannins. Smooth and very well balanced. Not as much fruit up front as the Rector. Another excellent wine that needs to be put away for a few years
2003 Napa Valley Merlot ($50)Rating: C
Feb 18th, 2006
This is the main wine for Duckhorn. It is a rich dark red merlot with hint of black cherry and oak flavours on the finish. Mid palate fruit flavours in the mouth that builds over time. A very drinkable wine that will do well with a few more years in the bottle.
2003 Three Palms Merlot ($85)Rating: C
Aug 12th, 2006
Better structure than the Estate Merlot
2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: C
Feb 17th, 2008
Big mouth feel. Good tannins, nice long finish. Will need to come back to this one. "Very drinkable". "Very jammy".
2004 Goldeneye Pinot Noir ($52)Rating: C
Jul 7th, 2007
Very good Pinot Noir and an excellent way to start the day before moving over to the heavier Merlots. Drinking very well, excellent structure.
2004 Howell Mountain Red Wine ($75)Rating: C
Jul 12th, 2008
Just released, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet giving this wine more strucutre than pure Merlot as it was bottled in previous years. Not as dry as earlier years, showing good fruit and an excellent finish.
2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)Rating: C
Feb 17th, 2008
"That will age". "Tobacco". "Rich on the nose". "Medium flavours, dry finish". Good fruit - rich wine.
2004 Napa Valley Merlot ($52)Rating: C
Dec 9th, 2006
Another excellent merlot from Duckhorn. The 2004 was just released and is drinking very well.
2004 Three Palms Merlot ($85)Rating: C
Feb 17th, 2006
Good finish - huge tannins. Tannins overkill the fruit. Come back to this later. Better fruit than the Howell.
2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)Rating: C
Jul 12th, 2008
Good berry fruit - beautiful nose. Very balanced and drinkable - this should age well.
2005 Three Palms Merlot ($85)Rating: C
Jul 12th, 2008
Lovely fruity nose, good structure and good balance on the finish. This is what a balanced Napa Merlot should taste like. Structure will keep this wine going for a number of years.
1998 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($125)Rating: B-C
Feb 17th, 2008
Great nose, good fruit on the nose. Tried two bottles - open from the prior day: flat and short. the other bottle was opened and wss much better. do not decant - open and drink immediately.
2001 Paraduxx ($40)Rating: B-C
Feb 6th, 2004
Zinfandel & Cabernet blend that works well - good combination of spice and fruit flavours
2003 Goldeneye Pinot Noir ($52)Rating: B-C
Aug 12th, 2006
Syrupy but balanced with good medium finish
2003 Howell Mountain Merlot ($70)Rating: B-C
Feb 17th, 2008
HUGE tannins. Finish goes on and on. Extremely dry - way overpowering tannins. Have to come back to this later. Not sure if the fruit balances the tannins.
2003 Patzimaro Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($95)Rating: B-C
Dec 9th, 2006
Good fruit upfront but disappointing compared to the previous wines. Soft with not as much tannins. Would probably have gotten a better rating if tasted by itself.
2005 Estate Merlot ($85)Rating: B-C
Jul 12th, 2008
Quite dry with lots of tannins and a "super-long finish". Not much fruit at the moment, but I would like to come back to this in a little time. Getting the fruit of the napa valley merlot and the finish of the estate would make a great combination.
2005 Napa Valley Merlot ($52)Rating: B-C
Jul 12th, 2008
Smooth and fruity, good balance and a nice finish - although I would like it to last longer on the finish (perhaps more air or bottle time is needed).
2003 Paraduxx ($45)Rating: B
Feb 18th, 2006
Blended Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon with a hint of Cab Franc and Merlot. Sweet smelling - almost like a dessert wine. Nice to drink, but not as good as the primary brand wines.
2005 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25)Rating: B
Dec 9th, 2006
I enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc. Very crisp and fruity, it would be excellent on a hot summer day.
1999 Three Palms Merlot ($70)Rating: A-B
Jun 7th, 2008
Dark garnet colour, but no fruit left only tannins and alcohol. Did not improve over time, may have been a storage problem. Disappointing.
2002 25th Harvest Estate Cuvee ($125)Rating: A-B
Apr 3rd, 2005
Too much toast/almonds, with a poor finish. Expected a lot more from this blend. Not worth $25, never mind $125
2006 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($32)Rating: A-B
Feb 17th, 2006
"Bin that". Very fruity citrus.
2007 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($27)Rating: A-B
Jul 12th, 2008
Lemony and sharp - not our palate, Sue really didn't like it

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Duckhorn Vineyards winery, Duckhorn Vineyards

Duckhorn Vineyards winery, Duckhorn Vineyards

Duckhorn Vineyards winery, Duckhorn Vineyards

Duckhorn Vineyards winery, Duckhorn Vineyards

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