CLOS DU VAL

5330 Silverado Trail, P.O.Box 4350, Napa, California 94558.

by Sergio Sismondo

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Clos du Val is one of the best wineries of Napa Valley. Wine-maker emeritus Bernard Portet has been with the company since its inception, and is responsible for some of the best Cabernet-Sauvignon wines imaginable. Clos du Val's tasting room is attractive, large, cool, quiet, and inviting,

located in one of the imposing buildings of this classic winery on the East side of the Silverado Trail, in the heart of the Stag's Leap District. The staff, forever friendly and entertaining, take all the time in the world for explaining their wines and their interesting Franco-American wine making concepts which have arisen through the years.

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Senior Winemaker Bernard Portet and Liane Sismondo, at the Clos du Val tasting room.

OUR CHOICES.

We tasted new releases of Cabernet-Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, "Ariadne" Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. Following is a list of their wines along with our ratings.

Cabernet-Franc Stags Leap District Reserve 2001 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 1994 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 1995 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon Bernard Portet Signature, Napa Valley, 1997 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2001 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2002 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003 89
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003 90 (3)
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004 90(4)
Cabernet-Sauvignon Estate, Stags Leap District 2000 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Estate, Stags Leap District, 2001 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Estate, Stags Leap District, 2002 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Estate, Stags Leap District, 2003 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon Stags Leap District, Oak Vineyard, 2001 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon Palisade Vineyard 1999 95
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 2000 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley, Reserve, 2001 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley, Reserve, 2002 94
Chardonnay Carneros 2002 88
Chardonnay Carneros 2003 88
Chardonnay Carneros 2004 88
Chardonnay Carneros 2005 88
Chardonnay Carneros 2006 89
Chardonnay Ronald Searly, Unoaked, Carneros, 2006 89
Chardonnay Stags Leap district, Reserve, 2004 90
Merlot Napa Valley 1998 90 (2)
Merlot Napa Valley 2001 89
Merlot Napa Valley 2002 89
Merlot Napa Valley 2003 89
Merlot Napa Valley 2004 90
Pinot Noir Carneros 2001 91
Pinot Noir Carneros 2003 90
Pinot Noir Carneros 2004 89
Pinot Noir Carneros 2005 89
Pinot Noir Carneros Reserve 2003 90
Pinot Noir Carneros Reserve 2004 90
Pinot Noir, Rose, Ronald Searle, Carneros, 2006 88
Sauvignon-Blanc Estate blend "Ariadne", 2000 89 (1)
Sauvignon-Blanc Estate blend "Ariadne" 2001 90
Sauvignon-Blanc Estate blend "Ariadne" 2002 89
Syrah Ronald Searle, Sierra Foothills 2002 89
Zinfandel Stags Leap District Reserve 2001 92

(1) Ariadne is a wonderful blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc.
(2) If you find this wine for sale, we recommend you buy it. We always do!
(3) This excellent Cabernet-Sauvignon is made with a blend of fruit from Rutherford, Mount Veeder, Oakville and Stags Leap.
(4) This excellent Cabernet-Sauvignon is made with a blend of fruit from Rutherford, St. Helena and Oakville.

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  • Our preference for a white wine goes to "Ariadne" 2002, a lovely blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It is priced at $21 per bottle, and received our rating of 89.
  • Our choice of the best red wine tasted in 2005-2007 was the 2002 Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley reserve, which is priced at $95 and we rated 94. This is a wonderful wine of great depth and complexity, with strong structure and long finish. It is a great credit to Winemakers Bernard Portet, John Clews and all the dedicated staff.
  • A second choice was the 2004 Pinot Noir, Carneros. A delightful Rhone style wine with more aromas and flavours than most. It is priced at $24 with our rating of 89. (The 2001 vintage of the same wine we rated 91, but it may no longer be available.)
  • Our "Best value for money" choice goes to the unoaked Chardonnay of 2006, Carneros District, which was priced at $18 and which received our rating of 89.
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The Pinot Noir wines sampled at Clos du Val are included in the extensive Pinot Noir listing in this web site, in the section "Wine Listings / U.S. - West Coast - Pinot Noir".

RETROSPECTIVE.

We tried a range of white and red wines, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. All the wines were excellent and we rated most of them in the high 80's and 90's.

  • Our preference for a white wine goes to "Ariadne" 2000, a lovely blend of 70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon Blanc. It is priced at $32 per bottle, and received our rating of 90.
  • Our choice of the best red wine tasted in 2003 was the 1999 Cabernet-Sauvignon Estate Reserve, which is priced at $95 and we rated 94.
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A WORD ABOUT CLOS DU VAL CELLAR CLUB.

Clos du Val also has a wine club. The "Cellar Club" offers members a number of privileges, including quarterly mailing of three bottles of wine, discounts of 25% on most purchases in the tasting room, invitations to special events, and much more. We have joined this club and are very pleased with the shipments of wines we have received, especially wines which, due to their small production, are not for sale anywhere else. It is a great opportunity to try new and different varieties. We heartily recommend this wine club. If you wish to have more information you can visit the website www.closduval.com.

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