2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Red Wine Howell Mountain

Mature, but still evolving

2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Red Wine Howell Mountain

Duckhorn’s red blend mixes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grown in three vineyards on Howell Mountain. I received this wine as a sample in 2011 and, rather than commit infanticide, decided to lay it down awhile before tasting.

The robe is still youthful, an opaque velvet garnet color with a faintly barn-red rim, but it has tossed a crystal-black chemise across the bottle’s neck and cork. The scent is potent, a berry patch of black raspberries, black cherries, and blueberries with a whiff of coffee-steeped brushy herbs. The body is concentrated yet explosively fruity, even twelve years after harvest. The texture is like black suede, downy but napped and drying, too, with a blaze of fleshy red acid brightening the finish.

This wine is just entering its drinking window—delicious but with the stuffing to age five or more years. Pair it with substantial fare: braises, roasts, aged cheeses. And if you have the current release, lay it down awhile.

2005 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Red Wine Howell Mountain

14.5% abv | $75 on release (sample); current release $95

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