Dan and Margaret Duckhorn owe their meteoric ascent in Napa to their unrelenting pursuit of perfection for each and every vineyard site. The reputation was founded on the success of their flagship wine the ‘Three Palms’ Merlot (link?), where they bucked financial and consumer trends to make one of the best Merlot’s on the planet. Next they took on Cabernet, picking an ideal rocky spot overlooking their estate.
But when it came to expanding beyond their Bordeaux varietals – their unwavering commitment to only make the very best wine, they knew they’d have to look beyond the valley. Hoping to make world-class Pinot Noir, they turned their gaze to Anderson Valley. Perfect Chardonnay could only be grown among the cooling coastal breezes of the Sonoma Coast. They decided to aptly name their new project “Migration”.
Twenty years later and Migration is now a name echoed nearly as loud as their original Three Palms. First it was the Pinot Noirs that got peoples’ attention. Then, they turned their attention to Chardonnay and no expense was spared. After hiring Quintessa/Kim Crawford winemaker, Niel Bernardi, to get the winemaking up to snuff. He was soon promoted to Vice President of wine when they decided to go all in and hire Dana Epperson (Artessa, Eden Valley, and Ferrari-Carano) to take the wines to the next level.
They haven’t been disappointed. Dana has been churning out seriously sophisticated Sonoma Coast Chardonnay with great minerality, concentration and depth. Maybe you’d say it’s cheating a bit considering the vineyards at her disposal for the project (Dierberg, Bien Nacido, & Charles Heintz). Those single vineyards will each fetch about $60 per bottle. But if you ask me, the Sonoma Coast may have them all beat at its $40 release price.
Take into account that it’s just $20 per day today and you’ve got a home run. In last week’s Duckhorn tasting, this one took the cake. Spending 10 months in French Oak, the wine offers layers of sophistication and depth. It starts with the mineral notes, lemon, apple and pear. From there the mid-palate has a touch of weight with some yogurty creaminess coming in. The finish is delicate and long for a truly refreshing wine that pairs perfectly with sun and a backyard pool. Does anybody have one of those sanitized and ready to go for me?
Dual 90pt scores from Wine Spectator and James Suckling who agree this wine is drinking great right now. $40/btl upon release from the winery. In this crazy new world, an unheard of HALF OFF today at Nicholas Wines.
90 Points, Wine Spectator
Lithe and well-framed, with bright acidity accenting the green apple, pear and gooseberry flavors. Citrus zest notes enliven the finish. Drink now through 2021.
90 Points, James Suckling
A neat array of spicy pears and melon, delivered as a fresh and crisp style with plenty of immediate drinking appeal. Ripe-melon finish. Drink Now.