This Week’s Wine Tasting
Firesteed Cellars and Duckhorn Decoy
Firesteed Cellars– “Our vineyards are located on two sites that comprise 292 acres. The 90-acre Firesteed Estate Vineyard is located in Rickreall Oregon, where it encircles our winery and tasting room. If you were to imagine the perfect spot for a winery, it would look exactly like this. And it doesn’t hurt that the surrounding vineyard contains some of the most fertile land in the world and is ideally suited for growing superb wine grapes.
We started producing Firesteed wines from grapes grown here back in 1992. A decade later, we obtained a long-term lease to the land and have been farming it ourselves ever since. The grape varietals we grow here include Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. In 2006, we acquired another vineyard, Erratic Oaks, which covers an additional 202 fertile and scenic acres in nearby Dallas, Oregon.”
“The Firesteed Oregon series is our most widely distributed line of wines and we’re very proud of how rapidly it has grown. These delightful, versatile and affordable varietals and blends continue to be the key to our success. Their popularity with the trade and the wine-buying public has set the standard for everything else we do.
We currently produce three great varietals under this label: Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir, Firesteed Oregon Pinot Gris and Firesteed Oregon Riesling.”
Firesteed Cellars Pinot Gris 2013– Oregon. “By blending several vineyard sources and regions and avoiding heavy-handed winemaking techniques we hope to achieve a balanced wine focused on the abundant varietal fruit character of this classic grape. Expressively aromatic, the wine’s floral and tropical fruit aromas precede flavors of Mandarin orange and Honeydew melon. Mouthwatering and enticing, its bright acidity and broad texture entwine throughout the wine’s lingering finish.” $9.99
Firesteed Cellars Pinot Noir 2012– Oregon. “Our 2012 Pinot Noir continues the Firesteed tradition of a consistent fruity style, achieved with gentle techniques in the cellar and imagination in the vineyard. The grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts propagated from cellars in Burgundy, pressed during the last days of fermentation, and racked as soon as the wine finished malolactic fermentation. A touch of barrel-aged wine was included in the blend to round out the flavors and enhance complexity. This wine is expressive, with focused aromas of wild blueberry, ripe raspberry and hints of white pepper. Flavors of black licorice, cocoa powder and espresso encourage a second sip before flowing into the soft, lingering finish.” $11.99
Duckhorn Decoy– “Since the inaugural vintage of our Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine almost a quarter century ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Wine Company family of wines. With a reputation for delivering great quality at a remarkable price, Decoy has established a loyal following for its distinctive style, which emphasizes ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth. Building on this foundation, Decoy has evolved from being a single wine that supported the Duckhorn Vineyards brand to being a supporting brand for the entire Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio. Today, in addition to the Decoy Red, the Decoy lineup includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc—all of which are Sonoma County appellation-designated and highlight Decoy’s commitment to producing attractively priced wines made from exceptional vineyard sources.
Noted winemaker and Sonoma native, Dana Epperson guides the Decoy winemaking program. With extensive viticultural experience and a winemaking background spanning numerous winegrowing regions, Dana has established herself as an expert with multiple grape varieties. At the same time, because of Duckhorn Wine Company’s unique structure, Decoy also benefits from the talent and expertise of our other winemakers, each of whom has a unique area of specialization. Duckhorn Vineyards Winemaker Renee Ary contributes to the crafting of Decoy’s Bordeaux-varietal wines. Paraduxx Winemaker Don LaBorde works with Dana on the Decoy Zinfandel. Migration Winemaker Bo Felton helps guide the Decoy Chardonnay and collaborates with Dana and Goldeneye Winemaker Michael Fay on the Decoy Pinot Noir.
Fruit for the Decoy program comes from a mix of Estate vineyards and top grower vineyards.”
Decoy Sauvignon Blanc 2013– Sonoma County, California. “Duckhorn Vineyards has been crafting Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc since 1982. Expanding on this winemaking tradition, Decoy Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc allows our winemaking team the opportunity to explore a different expression of this great grape from another recognized California appellation. This inviting wine combines bright citrus aromas with richer layers of kiwi and honeysuckle. On the palate, a perfectly balanced mouthfeel underscores pure flavors of Key lime, orange zest and Honeycrisp apple, all of which carry through to a long and lively finish.” $14.99
Decoy Chardonnay 2013– Sonoma County, California. “Like all of our Decoy wines, our Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay benefits from the passion, skill and experience of our Duckhorn Wine Company team. Exploring the diversity of the Sonoma County winegrowing region allows our winemaking team greater flexibility during the blending process. Stretching from Cloverdale to Annapolis to San Pablo Bay, Sonoma County encompasses an array of microclimates, soil types, elevations, and terroirs, yielding a unique and appealing expression of Chardonnay. Showcasing the exceptional quality of the 2014 vintage in Sonoma County, this wine displays lovely layers of pear, apple and lemon drops. On the palate, the pure fruit flavors are underscored by crisp acidity and subtle hints of sweet oak that add length to the finish.” $14.99
Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– Sonoma County, California. A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Barrel aging: 12 months in 100% French oak, 35% new. “Since 1978, Duckhorn Vineyards has been exploring the character and complexity of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Drawing on our winemaking team’s expertise working with this varietal, Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon offers a rich and appealing expression of the varietal crafted to be ready upon release. The 2012 vintage has yielded a lush and appealing expression of Decoy Cabernet with alluring black cherry and raspberry jam aromas, as well as more subtle notes of nutmeg, spice and chocolate. On the palate, lovely layers of raspberry and plum are supported by excellent structure and seamlessly integrated oak.” $19.99
Decoy Zinfandel 2013– Sonoma County, California. A blend of 87% Zinfandel and 13% Petite Sirah. Aged in 85% French oak, 10% American oak, 5% Hungarian oak. Barrel aging: 12 months. Age of barrels: 35% new, 65% second vintage. “This enticing Sonoma County wine highlights a bright red-fruit and spice expression of Zinfandel. The majority of the fruit came from elite vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley, an area universally recognized for producing exceptional high-end Zinfandel. With a focus on hillside grapes from the renowned Dry Creek Valley, this is perhaps the richest and most robust expression of Decoy Zinfandel we have ever produced. Aromas of spicy dark fruit flow from the glass underscored by oak-inspired notes of vanilla and clove. On the palate, flavors of ripe berry and bramble mingle with hints of Christmas spices and mocha with polished tannins and lingering acidity adding to a long, satisfying finish.” $19.99