While most red wines under the Duckhorn label now sell for $100 or more, Decoy wines are priced in the $20 to $25 range. They’re produced on a much larger scale with fruit sourced from Sonoma County and other California regions. Duckhorn calls them “everyday” wines.
This fall, for the first time, Duckhorn released a trio of Decoy “Limited” red wines that are a step up and priced at around $30. Among the three, the 2018 Decoy “Limited” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is the standout.
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The grapes are sourced from Duckhorn estate and other Napa vineyards in the Rutherford, Yountville, Atlas Peak, Stags Leap District, and St. Helena AVAs. The wine, for a bit more money, rises well above the regular Decoy labels — and above so many less expensive and often generic California Cabs.
The blend is 90 percent Cabernet and 10 percent Merlot. The wine announces itself with classic aromas of ripe yet bright dark fruit and herbs. On the palate, generous blackberry and boysenberry notes and a touch of mocha are framed by a firm but smooth tannic structure, the type you don’t usually find in less expensive Napa Cabs.
This is quintessential steak wine — I served it with some grilled shell steaks, but it will also work well with burgers, lamb, pork, roast chicken, and hearty non-meat dishes. Alcohol is listed at 14.5 percent, but refreshing acidity and only a moderate amount of new oak prevent it being ponderous. It’s young but opens up nicely in the glass.
Although it’s a “Limited” Decoy Cabernet, a hefty 30,000 cases were produced, so the wine will be widely available.