All too often, wineries try to appeal to the tastes and whims of consumers by crafting upward of a dozen or more varietals. The thought, it seems, is that if they create enough wines, each consumer is bound to find one he or she likes. What these wineries can boast about their quantity, however, doesn’t always translate to quality in the bottle.
This isn’t so at Duckhorn Wine Company. Dan Duckhorn, with his wife, Margaret, founded Duckhorn Vineyards in 1976 with the sole quest to make excellent Merlot. What began as a mild obsession about the varietal, which wasn’t used for much other than blending at that time in Napa Valley, has turned the winery into one of the premium Merlot producers in the country.
Since that original tunnel vision of Merlot, the Duckhorn family has added a few more varietals along with three other estate wineries under its company umbrella, each inspired by a similar passion to craft wines with excellence: Goldeneye, producer of cool-climate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir; Paraduxx, the proprietary red blend primarily composed of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon; and, most recently, Migration, which focuses on cool-climate Pinot Noir as well as a Russian River Chardonnay to be released in spring 2010. Each of these four estates pursues quality over quantity, allowing the respective estate to develop an intimate knowledge of the strengths and complexities of the grapes and to produce their chosen wines with confidence and finesse.
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