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.”
At Duckhorn Vineyards, they have been making wine using grapes from the finest Napa Valley vineyards for over 35 years. Building on this rich history, their Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from the coolest regions. In the cellar, they applied classic techniques of French oak barrel fermentation with lees stirring, resulting in a Chardonnay that balances the complexity and richness of Napa Valley.
The 2012 growing season offered near-perfect growing conditions. Though budbreak was late due to heavy spring rains, warm weather during bloom allowed the vines to set a large crop. Increased yields were the result of more berries, not larger berries. This translated into even higher quality in the winery, as the skin-to-juice ratio remained ideal. Slightly cooler-than-average post-veraison weather and a lack of any heat events allowed for greatly extended hang time. Harvest was 2-3 weeks later than average, and the grapes arrived at the winery in pristine condition.
Varietal Content 100% Chardonnay Cooperage 100% French Oak Château-style barrels (60 Gallons) 90% Barrel-fermented 45% New oak, 55% Second Vintage 4 months surely. This lush and complex Chardonnay showcases layered aromas of white peach, nectarine, tangerine zest and honeydew melon, followed by rich, warm notes of crème brulée and chai. Though the palate is round and silky, a fluid acidity provides balance and length, while adding definition to flavors of stone fruit, citrus blossom and melon.