Loads of ripe, dark red and blue berries, pomegranate and a smidge of vanilla & toasted pastries introduce the Decoy Merlot 2017. In the mouth it’s more of the same: ripe but not overripe, smooth and rich. I pick up some cocoa and bay leaves, but first & foremost I get fruit in this low-tannin, medium acidity, drink-me-tonight wine.
Decoy’s umbrella-winery Duckhorn knows a thing or two about making premium Merlot. As a premium-value label, Decoy aims to delivery exceptional value. It sets up to bring us an exceptional $25 bottle of, for all intents and purposes, “Estate” Merlot. Most of the grapes are sourced from Decoy/Duckhorn’s “Ridgeline Vineyard” in Alexander Valley. 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. All French-oak aged, partly new.
Decoy Wines are part of the Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio. It began in 1985 with one wine, a Napa Valley Red Blend. The Decoy line expanded in 2008 and 2009 to seven wines in all, representing Napa, Sonoma and Anderson Valley, Mendocino. The last decade saw the Decoy wines focus (almost) solely on Sonoma County following Duckhorn’s big investment in vineyards and a winery there. Taking Decoy’s own words, they make “ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth.” As a whole, these wines are equally satisfying when you’re home solo with a burger & Netflix or you’re on the town and you find it offered by the glass.
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