Each wine I tasted this summer at Duckhorn was so exquisite that it deserves its very own blog post! Perhaps the most famous wine made by Duckhorn, the Three Palms Merlot most certainly deserves individual attention as it was simply awe-inspiring.
Since 1978, Duckhorn has produced this legendary wine from the Three Palms Vineyard in the northeast corner of Napa Valley. The soil there is rich with minerals, and full of rocks that hold in the sun's heat during the night, keeping the grapes warm and protected from the cold of the night. The rocky, well-drained soil allows the roots to grow deep into the earth to draw the minerals and water into the fruit.
Duckhorn's Three Palms Merlot was one of the first top rated wines I have ever enjoyed, and is one of the reasons I became a fan of a good Merlot no matter what the current movie-induced trends were.
The Three Palms Merlot was second only to the Duckhorn Discussion (the subject of an earlier post) in my opinion - and my tastebuds were dancing for joy for hours after leaving the vineyard. The nose was delicate and fruity, as well as distinctive - no other Merlot has anything even close to the fine fragrance of a Three Palms Merlot. The fore palate is full of refined black current, cola, rhubarb, and fig flavors. Very complex,rich and full-bodied, this Merlot has structured tannins and is nicely chewy without any "pucker factor". I tasted a hint of spice, cedar, and fine oak as well. I really loved the texture of this wine; rich and velvety, with a deep, rich garnet color that looks like a jewel in your glass.
The composition is 82% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Aged in 100% French oak for 18 months, I would bet that this wine will improve with more cellaring. The vintner's notes tell us that if you don't plan to cellar (recommended by other experts until at least 2015), then the wine would benefit from decanting.
Simply a classic, the Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot was worth the entire drive up to Napa for tasting. One of the more famous Merlots on the planet, this 2009 vintage just got a nice writeup by Bloomberg's Business Week - after all, what is business without a nice wine to cap it off?
One more tidbit of information - the Wine Spectator gives the 2009 Three Palms Merlot a 92 on it's rating scale. Anything above a 90 is really hard to get, and there are very few wines at 92 and above.
Food Pairings: Complex but yet soft and velvety, the Three Palms Merlot would pair nicely with venison steaks or any rich game, a chateaubriand with a delicate wine sauce, or a rack of lamb.
Music Pairings: A classic in every way, I would pair this wine with anything by George Gershwin that doesn't remind me of a United Airlines commercial, the Art Blakey " A Night at Birdland" album, or John Coltrane, "Round Midnight".
Other Pairings: This is the ultimate romantic evening wine, perfect for warm beachfront picnics or summer garden trysts. Drink it while wearing a sultry black dress.