Duckhorn Merlot 2004

Last night, I went to Broadway Cellars with a friend, where we – or I – eagerly seized the wine list and impulsively picked the first bottle that jumped out at me. Duckhorn Merlot 2004, $80. Or rather, $50 retail and $40 tonight, thanks to the 50%-off-bottles-of-wine-on-Tuesday-special. I’ve had it once before, almost a lifetime ago, in Florida. Although I’m not normally a Merlot fan, I do love this bottle; it’s one of the most structured, smoothest wines I’ve had.  

A perfectly balanced wine, the Duckhorn has a beautiful nose of cherries, vanilla and the faintest of herbs (clove, cinnamon). The tannins are superbly controlled, very smooth, and the finish is soft and elegant on its own, but tastes full and well rounded when matched with our duck pate appetizer and duck rigatoni, the two dishes I had (yes, I know, very cheesy, but I swear, the “duck” theme was completely unintentional). The wine brought out the bright, luscious tomatoes in the rigatoni, whose taste lingered on in my mouth long after I took my last bite.

But although it was a great match with my duck, the wine clashed horribly with my friend’s main course, a pork gnudi (which was lip-smackingly delicious on its own) – the otherwise sweetish-finish of the wine screeched to a jarring halt against the creamy pasta dish as its tannins flared to life. Urgh. I reckon though, that a big, minerally and earthy Viognier could make a tasty pairing with the gnudi; and there’s only one way to find out! And the world dissolved into a happier place. Haha, and this is NOT the wino in me talking. I swear; just try the Merlot for yourself before you pass any judgment.

Duckhorn Merlot 2004 (Napa Valley), $50 retail – Orgasmic 😀

Sniff –  nose of cherries, vanilla and the faintest of herbs (clove, cinnamon)

Sip – The tannins are superbly controlled, very smooth, and the finish is soft and elegant on its own

Eat – DUCK!

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