By Jenny Peters
Clos du Val Winery is one of Napa Valley’s finest. Situated in the completely wonderful Stags Leap District appellation, an American Viticultural Area that straddles the Silverado Trail and is just three miles long and just one mile wide, the winery naturally makes an exemplary Cabernet Sauvignon, the area’s signature varietal.
From the 2006 Cabernet ($35), a densely dark wine with spicy black fruit flavors that is eminently drinkable right now to the winery’s flagship 2004 Stags Leap District Cabernet ($70 , founding winemaker Bernard Portet continues to prove that he is one of the valley’s best after more than 30 years.
And Clos du Val’s wines actually go beyond the Stags Leap District, as Portet and his partners recognized early on that the Carneros District of Napa (well to the south of the Stags Leap District) needed to be a part of their portfolio, purchasing acreage there back in 1973. The place where the valley’s best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are grown is reflected in the delicious offerings created by Clos du Val’s other winemaker, Rhodesian native John Clews.
It’s his palate that makes their 2007 Chardonnay ($24) a luscious delight, full of nuances including flavors of melon and peach that intermingle with an oaky smoothness that creates a wonderful mouth feel. It’s so good we can’t wait for the release of the 2007 Reserve Chardonnay. That bottling usually sells for around $40, and is worth every cent to lovers of classically made, barrel-fermented Chardonnay. Clews makes a full-bodied Pinot Noir from Carneros as well; the 2007 retails for $30 and with its black cherry and spice notes would pair perfectly with a juicy pork loin.
Clos du Val’s other wines include the Ariadne, a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc ($21); an extremely and immediately approachable Merlot ($26) made from Stags Leap District grapes; and a to-die-for Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon created with fruit from the SLD as well as Oakville and Rutherford ($105 for the current 2004 release) that is definitely worth the splurge.
Clos du Val Winery
5330 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558