You remember that game you played as a kid, duck duck goose? Some of you may have played it with your four year old just the other night. This wine review has nothing to do with that game, but it did come to mind when I received the wine for review. The other thing that I think of when I look at Duck Pond Cellars label is that old Nintendo game, Duck Hunt. Could be the ducks on the label, but I wanted to get out the grey plastic pistol and fire away.
Duck Pond Cellars is located in Dundee, Oregon. I previously reviewed their 2007 Red Blend (which was a crazy value) and their 2007 Syrah (which wasn’t a personal favorite). One thing is sure, Duck Pond is shooting for some crazy values that are way more than child’s play (see how I brought back the two references from earlier, nice eh).
For this review, I decided the wine needed to make the 400 mile trek back to Oregon. The ducks longed to fly in their native land, so I packed them along during our Memorial Day weekend trip to Portland. The Oregon/Washington connection is strong with Duck Pond as all the grapes used for these wines were sourced from sister winery/vineyard Desert Wind in the Wahluke Slope AVA. Just like real ducks, these grapes fly south at harvest to prepare for their fermentation and storage.
2007 Duck Pond Cellars Chardonnay
- The Stuff: 95% Chardonnay, 4% Semillon, and 1% Gewurtraminer that was fermented in 90% stainless steel and 10% in barrel (4 months in new French and American); Partial malolactic fermentation; 15% abv; 19,665 cases produced; all Desert Wind Vineyard fruit
- The Swirl: Great golden yellow tone with a slight creamy quality
- The Sniff: An abundance of tropical flower and fruit with a good amount of heat as well.
- The Sip: Good rich mouth-feel without feeling flabby and fat. I really appreciate the fruit components of pear and pineapple along with other topical flavors. Everything is going well for this duck until the finish which is slightly stinging due to the alcohol.
- The Score: At only $10, this is a crazy value because the wine has some great aroma, flavor, acidity and minerality. The only misfortune is the heat on the finish. Pair this wine with food to compensate for the alcohol (preferably something sweet or rich). I score it a 3 out of 5.
Cellar Tracker score of 84 with four reviews
- The Stuff: 89% Merlot and 11% Cab Franc from Desert Wind Vineyard; Aged 14 months in 20% French and 80% American oak barrels; 14.5% abv; 12,721 cases produced
- The Swirl: Deep rich purple color with about 70% opacity. Slightly watered down at the edges.
- The Sniff: Good strong components of dark berries, leather, and wood. The American oak is prevalent but not attacking. Nice to get a good nose at this price point
- The Sip: The fruit flavors are fun and rich but they don’t hang and play very long. They fly the next and make way for a pleasant velvet milk chocolate mid palate with a better than average structure on the back end.
- The Score: At $10, this is a definite recommend. The wine is pleasing, and although slightly over oaked, it has some very nice fruit flavors and aroma that will make a good value drinking experience. I score this wine a 3+ out of 5
The 2005 Duck Pond Cellars Merlot doesn’t have any formal reviews on Cellar Tracker. It makes a strong showing to be considered for the Under $10 Value Team, but will have to ride the bench due to tough competition from Charles Smith’s Velvet Devil.
2007 Duck Pond Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 85% Cabernet, 8% Merlot and 7% Syrah from Desert Wind and Sacagawea Vineyards; aged in a combination of French and American oak; 14.5%ABV; 5824 cases produced.
- The Swirl: A thick muddy jammy purple that reminds me of a dark stormy sunset. The wine is about 90% opaque.
- The Sniff: Dark berry, gamey meat aromas, leather and stone. The nose is intriguing and throws me off from a traditional Cabernet, not in a bad way.
- The Sip: The mouth feel of the wine is a slight disappointment from the nose. The fruit elements are not strong and the expected spice and depth is not there. The wine is not off in flavor but only provides glimpses of what it could be. I would liken this to being the little brother who only played little league where the big kids moved on to the pros.
- The Score: While there is nothing off putting about the wine and it would make a great addition to any table to be paired with summer grillin’ or light pasta, I score it a 3 (out of 5) because of the lack of anything that stands out. Only $12 retail.