Decoy Wine Company

Owner(s) Duckhorn Wine Co.
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Decoy Wine Company

Decoy, part of the portfolio that includes Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx, Goldeneye, and Migration, offers affordable, and remarkably good wines despite very large production. The wines are ready to drink upon release and offer great small-lot quality at a reasonable price.

The current winemaker is Dana Epperson, who previously was in charge of grower relations at Artesa Vineyards & Winery where she oversaw almost 25 different properties. At Artesa, Dana was mentored by Artesa winemaker, and former Duckhorn Vineyards winemaker, Mark Beringer. Dana says, “In a way, I studied the Duckhorn Wine Company style before I ever came to Decoy.” Grapes are picked a little earlier to preserve fresh varietal notes.

All wines are Sonoma county appellation-designated and include a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. Fruit is sourced from a mix of grower vineyards and Estate vineyards with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from Carneros.

The labels feature a decoy carved by Richard Janson during the 1930s. He was a premier carver whose decoys are the most recognizable of all Pacific Coast carvings. Artist Michael Allard of Zimbabwe created a painting of this Pintail duck from the original carving.

The wines are widely distributed to retailers and restaurants (the website assists in locating the wines near you).

Reviewed Wines

2017 Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 64,000 cases, $20. This label is part of the Duckhorn Wine Company portfolio. A value play that is widely available in the marketplace. Aged in 10% French oak barrels and 90% stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color with a little spritz in the glass. Aromas of lemon creme, pear, forest path and maple lead to similar flavors. Light weighted, even a little shallow, with reserved oak and likable balance. An easy-to-drink, everyday quaff that does what it is asked to do. Score: 87. Reviewed January 17, 2019 ARTICLE »

2017 Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $25. This wine is part of the Duckhorn Portfolio. A majority of the fruit is sourced from Carneros and the Russian River Valley along with estate-grown grapes from Decoy’s sister wineries, Migration and Goldeneye. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 70% neutral. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers oak-infused, spiced cherry aromas. Light to mid weight and elegantly styled, with a heavy imprint of oak confining the black cherry fruit flavor. True to the varietal, with gentle tannins, but lacks spirit. Unchanged when tasted a day later after opening. Score: 85. Reviewed June 19, 2019 ARTICLE »

2016 Decoy Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 61,000 cases, $20, screwcap. Cellared and Bottled by Decoy, Ho[land, CA.. Part of the Duckhorn Wine Co. portfolio. A blend of fruit from warmer Sonoma County appellations with fruit from cooler areas. Vinified in 10% French oak, 90% stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color with a slight spritz in the glass. Pleasant aromas of lemon-lime, applesauce and vanilla creme. Vibrant on the palate, with flavors of lemon, pear, butterscotch and caramel, as well as a subtle petrol note in the background. Nicely balanced with just a whiff of oak. An unpretentious daily drinker. Score: 88. Reviewed August 6, 2017 ARTICLE »

2016 Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $25. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of red cherry, cranberry relish, rose petal and sandalwood. Light in weight, even delicate, with gentle tannins and a red-fruited theme enlivened with crisp acidity. The wine doesn’t lean too heavily on oak like many inexpensive Pinot Noirs but the fruit is very shallow. Score: 87. Reviewed March 17, 2018 ARTICLE »

2015 Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 63,700 cases, $20, screwcap. 20% aged in French oak barrels and 80% in stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Gregarious aromas of lemon, grapefruit, spice and a hint of butter. Bright and clean in the mouth with a silky demeanor and enjoyable flavors of white peach, lemon, lychee and creme caramel. Unpretentious but highly satisfying. A great value. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »

2015 Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 64,300 cases, $25, screwcap. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 70% neutral. Decoy winemaker Tyson Wolf learned to make wine alongside his father and grew up in the Napa Valley just two miles from Duckhorn Vineyards. · An impressive offering considering the large production. The nose aims to please with inviting aromas of cherry, spice and brioche, becoming more exuberant over time. Soft in the mouth, with a polished demeanor, offering flavors of cherry and raspberry and a subtle touch of oak in the background. The finish is notable for its quenching, cherry-infused goodness. Widely available in the marketplace and easy to recommend as a daily table wine. Score: 89. Reviewed April 19, 2017 ARTICLE »

2014 Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.57, $20, screwcap. Part of the Duckhorn portfolio of wines. A blend of fifteen vineyards. Fermented in oak barrel (25%) and stainless steel (75%). · Moderately light golden yellow and clear in the glass. A simple, lighter styled wine, with aromas and flavors of apple, buttery lemon-lime, pineapple, and vanilla. Slightly viscous, with enough acidity to offer easy drinking. Score: 86. Reviewed June 19, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Decoy Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 39,600 cases, $20, screwcap. Sourced primarily from Russian River Valley and Carneros with a core of 30% Sangiacomo Chardonnay. A majority of the wine was fermented in stainless steel (10% in new French oak barrels). · Delicate yellow color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of fresh apple, lemon, hay, nutty oak and salt air. Slightly creamy on the palate, with inviting flavors of green apple, pear, and pineapple. Notable balance and easy drink ability. Amazing quality at this high production level. Score: 88. Reviewed June 14, 2015 ARTICLE »

2013 Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 52,200 cases, $25. Predominantly from the Russian River Valley and Carneros, and includes acclaimed vineyards such as Sangiacomo and Dutton Ranch. As many as 70 Pinot Noir fermentations are performed each vintage, and the wines are aged in a modest 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is more woodsy than fruity, with aromas of dark cherries and raspberries overlain with prominent oak toast and spice. Easy to like, with a smooth and silky demeanor, modest tannins, and a tasty core of black cherry and black raspberry fruit. A dependable daily Pinot drinker that will work nicely with a range of foods. Impressive quality at this large production level. Score: 87. Reviewed June 14, 2015 ARTICLE »

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