Paraduxx and the Art of the Blend

A review on unusual blends and distinct wines

For many years, Duckhorn Wine Company has been a well-known and go-to name for a host of single variety wines such as merlot and sauvignon blanc to name a few. Now some 22 years since it launched Paraduxx, it has become as well known for blending as Duckhorn is for merlot. Many of the blends in its portfolio focus on combinations of varieties that aren’t traditionally joined. I recently tasted through some of its 2012 selections and here are four of my favorites.

Paraduxx 2012 Napa Valley Proprietary Red ($48)

This selection combines cabernet sauvignon (60 percent), zinfandel (37 percent), and petit verdot (3 percent). The fruit was sourced at a number of vineyard sites. A host of red and black fruits such as raspberry and blackberry fill the nose along with hints of Mexican vanilla bean. The palate is stuffed with a thick and welcoming core of juicy black fruit flavors which are underpinned by spice and mineral characteristics galore. Sour blackberry, continuing spices, and a bit of chocolate sauce mark the above average, lust-leaning finish. Firm tannins yield with air and racy acid keeps things in check. This is a delicious and distinct blend for a very reasonable price.

Paraduxx 2012 Howell Mountain Napa Valley Red ($80)

In this offering, zinfandel drives the boat at 60 percent of the blend. Cabernet sauvignon makes up the balance at 40 percent. All of the fruit comes from a site up on Howell Mountain, which sits at an elevation of 1,800 feet. Violet, plum, and hints of tar are present on the dark and lovely nose. The dense, even palate is loaded with a bevy of black fruits laced with bits of red. Blackberry and cassis are interspersed with bits of roasted espresso and a touch of raspberry. The impressively long finish shows of dusty dark chocolate, a ton of minerals, and bits of chicory. This wine is delicious now but it’ll enjoy positive evolution for next six to eight years and drink well for several after that.

Paraduxx 2012 Rector Creek Vineyard Napa Valley Red ($80)

This selection is composed of zinfandel (70 percent) and cabernet sauvignon (30 percent). The vineyard site is the home ranch where Paraduxx sits. This zinfandel-dominated wine leans more toward the red fruit side of things. That starts from the super-expressive nose that shows off tons of strawberry, bits of ripe red cherry, and a gentle whiff of crème fraîche. There is a thick core of spices which ride shotgun with oodles of ripe, but proportionate red berry fruit flavors on the eager palate. Bits of earth, black pepper, and a hint of black tea are all present on the solid finish. This is a lovely blend where the two varieties complement each other so perfectly. The zinfandel provides lots of flashy fruit and drive by appeal, while the cabernet chips in with depth, structure, and ballast.

Paraduxx 2012 X2 Napa Valley Red ($95)

The newest wine in the Parradux portfolio is a blend of cabernet sauvignon (90 percent), and zinfandel (10 percent). All of the fruit comes from the Paraduxx estate and it used a combination of block and barrel selection to identify approximately five percent of its best estate grapes. Much of it is cabernet from its Howell Mountain Estate. Black cherry, plum, nutmeg, and violet aromas are all present on the convivial nose. Crushed black and red cherries dusted with bits of earth dominate the palate alongside blueberry and plum flavors. The impossibly long finish shows off bits of dark chocolate, roasted espresso, and a tiny hint of kirsch liqueur. This wine will age beautifully for at least a decade. However, it’s so delicious now that it’s very tempting to drink it immediately.

The four delicious wines above only scratch the surface of the Paraduxx portfolio which features additional reds such as a Syrah which is featured in my 10 must try wines for 2016. Several white wines and a rosé are also part of the fold.

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