Another Big Winner from Duckhorn: Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine 2008

decoyDuckhorn is one of those names that lots of wine drinkers know.

Duckhorn is one of Napa’s iconic wineries. Founded in 1976, they’ve grown up along with the Napa Valley wine industry, making highly-rated Bordeaux-varietal wines. Decoy is a second label that was introduced about 20 years ago as a fun, lower-priced red blend, and recently it hatched an entire line of red and white wines. I assume this was in response to the lousy economy: $25 wines stood a much better chance of flying off the shelves than $50 wines.

I tasted and reviewed the Decoy Napa Valley Cabernet, and in case you don’t want to read the entire review, I’ll cut to the chase and report that it’s well-balanced, elegant and well worth the $20 it sold for this Holiday season.

I didn’t try the original Decoy, the Napa Valley Red Wine, until last night. I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

The 2008 was really stunning. The winemaker’s Vintage Notes partly explained why: 2008 was a challenging year, with early frost, drought, and a long, moderately cool summer. The result was lower yields from the vines but more concentrated, intense fruit flavors. I’d say the long growing season gave the phenolics time to really develop.

All this translated to good stuff in my glass. The nose was big and warm, with dark berry aromas, vanilla and spice. The palate showed great depth and concentration, with more dark berry, vanilla, and a hint of mocha. It finishes with soft, appealing tannins and lingers nicely.

This wine really delivers for $20 or $25, proving once again how icons get to be icons. I hope there’s plenty of the 2008 Red Wine in someone’s warehouse, so I can keep enjoying it for some time to come. Cheers!

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2 Responses to “Another Big Winner from Duckhorn: Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine 2008”

  • Beware. The corks in Decoy wines are notoriously soft and it is recommended to open at a table with caution. Pairings with decoy are best when accompained with red meat or a dark chicken. The Napa Valley Decoy won last years award for best Merlot in the upland region and continues to impress as a new and proved wine.

    • Thanks for your comment, Stephen. I wasn’t aware of any problem with Decoy’s corks. Decoy’s Merlot is now Sonoma Coounty appellation, so I’m not sure which one you’re referring to as winner in the “upland region.” But thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Deb at

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