I’ve noticed something recently. Maybe it’s just the area that I’m in or maybe within the entire wine world, but lately, I’ve seen a resurgence in those wineries that have stood the test of time; that means predominantly California and more specifically, Napa.
Recently I was asked to pour wines where the wineries date back to the formation of what I would call the modern age of wines. That means the years around 1960 to 1970 or so. Folks arriving in and setting up shop back then to sort of “get the ball rolling” as it were. It could be too, that after reading James Conaway’s book, “Napa, The Story of an American Eden” I have a stronger sense and acknowledgment of those early pioneers.
That brings me to this week “Wine of the Week”
Clos du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Established more than 45 years ago, “John and Henrietta Goelet founded Clos Du Val in 1972. A descendant of Bordeaux's famed wine merchant, Barton & Guestier, John had a vision of producing Cabernet Sauvignon that would rival the world’s best.” Clos Du Val, French for “small vineyard estate of a small valley,” the winery now encompasses three estate vineyards in Stags Leap District, Carneros, and Yountville. While it may not have received the notoriety of other wineries involved, their first wine, the 1972 Cabernet, was chosen to compete in the Paris Tasting in 1976. 10 Years later when Steven Spurrier did the 10 Year Anniversary rematch, the same wine took First Place. Impressive!
That’s the word I would use when I poured the wine at a wine tasting. Impressive! Wanting to be prepared, I had planned to decant the wine to allow its full potential to open up and for folks to make sure they are tasting the wine at its best. Surprisingly, after I opened the bottle and took a sip I realized that this wine was perfect just the way it was.
Bright fresh dark fruit on the nose and palate tingling the senses and providing a smooth and long lasting slightly rustic finish. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, the wine sees a good amount of French Oak aging of 18 months, of which, 66% was new oak. That oak influence gives it a nice rounded feeling in the mouth and with a slight spice note, making you want to continue to enjoy the wine. For technical notes, click here.
Clos du Val has been a family-owned winery since its beginning. No small task in this day and age. Their attention to their wines is a testament to the quality wines made from smaller producers set on, as John said, “producing Cabernet Sauvignon that would rival the world’s best.” What else makes this wine so formidable is its affordability. Retailing for $45, it was on sale for $40! That for a quality Napa Valley Cabernet with the provenance afforded by Clos du Val. Great job!