It isn’t often I get to document the opening of a new winery. I have been watching the construction of Paraduxx for almost a year with so many questions raging through my brain. Mostly, what would possess a well-known winery such as Duckhorn, to put an astonishing amount of money into a facility for a second label — a second label, no less, that is a BLEND???
It is odd, yes, but all will be revealed… The grand opening was a masterful affair of grace, good wine, and perfection in catering. Valet parking attendants took the car upon arrival and a small crowd was already gathered around a reception table in front of the newly-constructed guest building. Brightly yellow-colored with darker apricot trim, the smell of freshly-applied paint lingered in the air.
The tasting room, with its vaulted, wood-beamed ceiling, and oversized windows, has been filled with comfortable Barcelona chairs sitting scattered around an inviting, expansive view. From there, we see the decagon fermentation cellar, a large, elegantly-designed building that Dan Duckhorn has been dreaming about for years. He bought these 40 acres back in 1996 and plans were made then to eventually build a winery on this property when — and only when — the Paraduxx blend was accepted as a wine in its own standing and not just as an offshoot second label from the Duckhorn name.
Glancing through the window, there is not only the decagon building, but on the day of my visit, the catered celebration; hors d’oeuvre stations, cocktail tables, and multiple pouring tables where earlier vintages of Paraduxx were being offered.
The ten-sided building is magical, with the brand new, large stainless steel fermentation tanks surrounding the Porsche of grape presses. This is a basket press that uses higher pressure, getting better extraction out of the grapes.
How do I know all this? For the opening, Bill Nancarrow, the winemaker, gave a guided tour, gleeful and gloating like a kid on Christmas morning with a brand new fire truck. The winery grand opening party was not exactly Christmas morning, however. September 1st was the official day they were open for business, with their first load of grapes arriving for crushing on the 2nd. Bill has been the winemaker for three years and also explained that the 40 acres only provides about 50% of the grapes needed for the Paraduxx wine. The remainder is purchased, which is a standard practice in the industry.
So now there is a nifty new winery to visit on the glorious Silverado Trail. A stunning facility, gorgeous wine, and beautiful surroundings.
1998 Paraduxx – Exact blend unavailable. Sweet and exotic in its age, this wine was being poured from magnums that were not available for sale. Spicy and erotic, the balance showed deep tobacco and cherry tones with an earthy complex mid-palate. Intense and well-aged, tones of vanilla and dark black fruit showing sweet on the end.
2000 Paraduxx – Earthy, dark rustic cherry tones. Aging smoothly with intense depth, a touch of dusty floral qualities in the mid-palate is enticing and exotic with a light, sweet vanilla finish. $
2001 Paraduxx – Developed dark spice and black fruit bouquet. Heady and rich upon entry with black cherry, black plum, and blueberry. Cedar wafts in for a mere moment and is finished with layers of coconut, vanilla, and toasty oak.
2002 Paraduxx – Fruit forward aromas of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and black currant. Jammy entry that is peppery is spicy with black pepper and hot brown spices. A whisper of vanilla behind the black plum and blackberry finish.
2003 Paraduxx – 63% Zinfandel, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. This was a preview tasting of a wine to be released in January, 2006. Aromas of dark blueberry, spicy cocoa, chocolate, and vanilla cream. The entry is still young and fruity, dominating in blueberry flavors but with a rich inlay of vanilla liqueur and a hint of lavender. Not yet priced.
Paraduxx ~ 1000 Lodi Lane ~ St. Helena ~ CA ~ 94574 ~ 707-963-7108
$10.00 tasting includes current release and two library wines.