Talk about a conversation-starter! Duckhorn has made the Wine & Spirits list of “Top 100 Wineries” in the world eight times over thanks to wines like ‘The Discussion.’ 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, and the rest Franc and Petit Verdot, this feels rich and complete. Aromas and flavors of black fruit and anise develop alongside dark chocolate in a structured wine well-built for age.
As Duckhorn Vineyards approaches their 40th anniversary, the estate’s reputation has never been better. Ask any wine lover, and they’re sure to know the name Duckhorn. That’s at least due, in part, to their dedication to making great Merlot as a stand-out varietal wine from the beginning. They were the first house to take Merlot seriously, and their efforts were rewarded by essentially becoming the benchmark for that varietal in California. If there was going to be one high-end Merlot on a sommelier’s wine list, more often than not, it was Duckhorn. Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards in 1978 with several hundred cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and have long been recognized as one of Napa Valleys’ leading lights as a premier producer of Bordeaux varietal wines. Explore other brands from the Duckhorn Family including Paraduxx and Goldeneye
Wine & Spirits
Breaking from Duckhorn’s focus on varietally labeled wines, Renee Ary blends The Discussion based on favored estate parcels. In 2016, it’s 55 percent cabernet sauvignon, 43 percent merlot and one percent each of franc and petit verdot. Given enough time to evolve past the almost peachy ripeness of its fruit and the significant presence of oak (it spends 18 months in new French oak barrels, then another six months in neutral barrels), the wine feels complete and completely rich. It has none of the stodginess common to cabernet, instead presenting a powerful structure, intense and gracious in its bitter-chocolate tannins. All the elements point in an upward trajectory, a path they should follow with extended bottle age.
A structured blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and tiny pinches of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this barrel-selection wine is sourced from an estate-grown block. It is graceful yet intense, with powerfully integrated tannins and lasting oak that support flavors of black cherry and cassis accented in cedar and clove. It will do well in the cellar; enjoy from 2026–2031.