Duckhorn Vineyards was founded in 1976 in St. Helena, in the Napa Valley. It was started by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn after Dan, a California native, toured the Bordeaux region of France in the 1970s. In 2007 a private equity firm took a significant ownership interest in Duckhorn, though Dan Duckhorn remains in charge of the estate. The winemaker is Bill Nancarrow. The 229-acre estate is known for its big Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. Robert M. Parker has written that Duckhorn has “a very positive style that represents a hypothetical blend of the ripeness of Napa allied with the elegance of a top Bordeaux.”
In the late 1800s, the land that is now home to the Three Palms Vineyard was a residence for famed San Francisco socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit. She left her mark on San Francisco in the form of Coit Tower. She left her mark on the Napa Valley in the form of three lone palm trees, which were all that remained from her estate after the house fell into disuse and ruin. The 83-acre vineyard is located on the northeast side of the Napa Valley in an alluvial fan created by the out wash of Selby Creek where it spills out of Dutch Henry Canyon. The site is covered with volcanic stones washed down over the centuries from the canyon. The soil is rocky and well drained, causing the vines to send their roots far, wide, and deep to find the necessary nutrients and water. The stones aid the vineyard, absorbing the sun's heat during the day and radiating the heat during the night to protect the vines during frost season and help ripen the fruit. Duckhorn has produced a Three Palms Merlot since their inaugural 1978 vintage.
The first Merlot made the world to look at Napa’s Merlot was 1978 Duckhorn’s merlot which was released in 1980. After that there had been so many beautiful merlots out from Duckhorn’s house. 1994 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot, is a blend of hand picked grapes of 84% merlot, 12% cabernet sauvignon and 4% cabernet franc.
“An outstanding Merlot that works its way into complex and interesting flavors, turning up hints of cherry, currant, anise and cedar. Finishes with a firmly tannic edge, but nothing out-of-bounds.” – Wine Spectator