Napa Goes Big On Washington Cabernet

By Sommelier David LeClaire

2015 Canvasback Cabernet – Red Mt.
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast
92 Points – James Suckling
92 Points – Wine Advocate
93 Points – Wine & Spirits

In 2011 after conducting extensive blind tastings between Napa Valley and Washington Cabernet Sauvignons, Duckhorn Vineyards was so excited about the quality and character of the wines from Washington State, and in particular the exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons from Red Mountain, they decided to invest in Washington.

Working with legendary Washington vineyard manager Dick Boushey, they began cultivating relationships with the growers who farm some of the appellation’s most esteemed vineyards, as well as planting their own vineyards. This was one of the first ever serious investments in Washington from a well respected Napa winery. As with all Duckhorn wines, they needed to name the wine after a duck, so they came up with Canvasback, a duck native to the Pacific Flyway. 

This wine has received some pretty lofty scores, with 4 esteemed publications all giving it 90+ points, as it has notable presence and depth with a creamy fine-grained texture and gorgeous flavors of black plum, marionberry, with notes of nutmeg and hazelnut. Yet it’s the restranied nature of this wine that had the critics impressed, as it drinks more like a French Bordeaux than a big juicy Washington Cab.

The balance comes in part to it’s Bordeaux style makeup, with 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc with 20 months in barrel 98% French oak barrels. Duckhorn is going all in on Washington Cabernet. And if you want to see what Napa is up to in Washington, give this a try!