Sunday, August 5, 2018

Winery Tour and Tasting at Clos du Val (Napa Valley, CA)

Napa Valley is famous for their Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and in large part that is due to the grapes grown in the Stags Leap District. This area gets the heat that comes down from Calistoga and he breeze from San Pablo Bay, creating a micro climate that is apparently perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Clos du Val is one of the early wineries to open in Stags Leap District. Stags Leap District is the first (and smallest) appellation in Napa Valley and it is best known for the Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, there are now 107 appellations (known as American Viticultural Area, or AVA).
Clos du Val
Initially after opening the winery, Clos du Val was making 90,000 cases of wines that are easy on the wallet, but about 40 years ago, the winery decided to return to their roots and make the best Cabernet Sauvignon they can make. They cut down production to 30,000 cases to focus on making high quality estate wines.

For our tour and tasting, we started in the old tasting room with a taste of the 2017 Estate Pinot Noir Rosé from Carneros.

Clos du Val rose
Photo: @foodiesnapstagram

We didn't spend much time in the tasting room before getting our winery tour, but we did see the area where they're currently constructing the swanky new tasting room!
Clos du Val tasting room
Photo: @foodiesnapstagram
We walked to the vineyard, and our guide also talked about the recent fire that devastated much of Napa Valley. Thankfully, Clos du Val was spared. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are about ready to harvest in September - a handful have started to turn color.
Clos du Val

We then toured the barrel room.
Clos du Val

As I mentioned, Clos du Val is currently building a brand new tasting room that will overlook the vineyard. It's slated to open in September, but in the meantime we had our tasting among the barrels.
Clos du Val
In addition to the rose wine, the standard tasting ($35 per person) included the following wines:
2015 Estate Merlot from Hirondelle Vineyard in Stags Leap District
2015 Petit Verdot grown in Napa Valley
2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Hirondelle Vineyard in Stags Leap
2013 Estate SVS Cabernet Sauvignon

The Petit Verdot is typically not used to make single varietal wine, but the dry season that Napa had since 2013 makes for really good grape juice, thus they decided to produce the Petit Verdot wine.

The 2014 Estate Cab is a good wine to age. It has more acidity than the 2013 Estate SVS Cabernet Sauvignon (this wine was 93% Cab and 7% Merlot).

We also tasted a couple of special wines as a treat, including the 2014 Three Graces (99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cab Franc) and a 1996 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
Clos du Val

The 1996 Cab was really a special treat. There are only a few cases left of this 22-year old wine. As you can imagine, the tannins have mellowed - this is now an excellent wine to drink if you can get your hands on some!

Disclosure: This visit was hosted


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