The Decoy Brut Cuvée is a blend of 49% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay, and 4% Pinot Meunier sourced from vineyards in several locations in California. Decoy is one of Duckhorn Vineyards’ wines; they are a high-end winery founded by Dan and Margret Duckhorn in 1976.
The Decoy line of wines started as Duckhorn’s second line of less expensive wines. They have since broken off to be their own brand but are still owned by Duckhorn Vineyards. So the Decoy Wines may be a brand, but they do own their own well-regarded vineyards.
This is the first release of the Decoy Brut Cuvée. They have been working on this project for a while since this is a non-vintage Bubbly. A non-vintage Sparkling wine is a blend of grapes from at least two vintages. Decoy seems to have taken their time to get things right.
This California Sparkling wine is produced in the Traditional Method, which is the same way that Champagne is produced. It is technology from the 1500s. It takes more time and labor to make this type of Bubbly than more modern ways, such as the Charmat Method (the 1880s), which is used for Prosecco.
Decoy Wines do not go into detail concerning the making of the Decoy Brut Cuvée, which I think is a mistake. This is a Bubbly that lists for $25, and I found for $18.99, and at this price, the details matter. The length of the 2nd fermentation corresponds directly to how smooth and creamy the Bubbly will be. This sort of information is much appreciated and should be available for a serious if everyday Sparkling wine.
One detail that Decoy did include is, “Dosaged with French oak barrel fermented Napa Valley Chardonnay.” Dosage is the final step in the winemaking process; after the dead yeast residue is removed from the neck of every wine bottle, the bottle is topped off still wine. This is where the winemaker can dial in the sweetness or non-sweetness level of the Bubbly.
While the grapes for this Bubbly are taken from several California AVA’s, the dosage is from very high-end Napa Chardonnay. Little additions and subtractions can mean a lot with wine, so that the Napa Chardonnay could be this wine’s secret weapon. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Decoy Brut Cuvée Tasting Notes
The color is gold with a hint of amber, and there are plenty of tiny bubbles. The nose is crisp green apple, lemon, brioche bread, vanilla, fresh cream, and lightly floral. The Decoy Brut Cuvée is an excellent mix of smooth and tart flavor with solid acidity.
It tastes like soft dried pear, green apple, grapefruit, juicy peach, and creamy vanilla. The mid-palate adds sharp orange zest, coconut milk, very light, not sweet caramel, and that nutty, salty “on lees” sensation.
The acidity is excellent; it allows the flavors to flow. I think all good Bubbly is easy-to-drink, and the Decoy is especially a joy to drink.
- This is the very first release of the Decoy Brut Cuvée, and it is already a favorite of mine.
- This is delicious Bubbly.
- It is not exactly inexpensive at around $20, but it is well-priced. It has a finished feel about it that some value-priced Sparkling wines lack.
- This is a solid Bubbly that can hold its own with Mose expensive wines.