Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | March 18, 2010

A Decoy Worth Hunting Down – Duckhorn’s 2008 Zinfandel

Some days, I really love my job. My night job that is – as your humble wine taster and value varietal reviewer. Tonight was one of those nights.

Last week, the good folks at one of my favorite local wine retailers – Pearsons – invited me to meet the owner of one of my all time favorite Napa Valley vintners and to taste their new line of value reds. As luck would have it my schedule was free and this evening I joined Dan Duckhorn (pictured below – a fellow U.C. Berkeley Graduate – Go Bears!), proprietor of one of Napa Valley’s most revered red wine producing vineyards – Duckhorn winery – for a great hour of wine tasting as we made our way through half a dozen of his best reds.

Long known for producing superb high end reds (I am a particular fan of their merlot, but more on that next week) Duckhorn has recently jumped feet first into the value wine market with a new line of wines – apply named their “Decoy” line. And while this wine blog is dedicated to the value reds under $15, I could not resist reviewing this incredible line of new wines, even though they are actually a few dollars outside of our prevue (the Decoys range in price from the low $20s). Tonight’s wine review focuses on the 2008 Zinfandel and tomorrow I will post on what is to date one of my favorite Pinot Noirs.

The 2008 Duckhorn Decoy Napa Valley Zinfandel greets you with a pleasant nose that doesn’t disappoint once the wine passes your lips. The light spices and subtle – yet present – accents of cedar and raspberry round out this glass of wine nicely. The first glass I tasted came from a bottle opened nearly an hour before my pouring, and to my surprise, it held up superbly and was very enjoyable.

Sourced largely from the same area as their far more expensive Paraduxx Zinfandel (twice the price actually), the 2008 Decoy offers an incredible value for the wine buying dollar. I actually found myself enjoying the $22 bottle more than the winemaker’s much higher end “Goldeneye” Zinfandel. Don’t get me wrong, both were excellent, but for exactly 1/3 the price of the $75 Goldeneye, I am willing to bet the Decoy would fool just about any dinner guest into believing they were enjoying a far more expensive bottle of wine. 

The Decoy line is widely available at many local wine merchants and in tomorrow’s post I will highlight a few additional places you can pick up this value red. Of course, you can also order the wine direct from Duckhorn at Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s review, I promise you won’t be disappointed.



  1. Nice review Dallas. I look forward to finding it in a local central Ohio wine shop. Safe travels to Australia!

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