Fairly dark ruby with purplish edges. Old-lady linen-closet perfume turns bright and sharp but Napa 40k-case *round*, giving off burning volatility and peach-pit angularity. Sweet rice vinegar tops the ripe and concentrated fruit, the numbing tingly earthiness, almost obfuscated by razor cassis. Decanted heavily. Late air fattens it up considerably, a roasted-beet sorta vegetal awesomeness dawdling around in sweltering sweat-soaked earth. The volatile burn never quite goes away, but a fresh swirl regurgitates the gravel.
I have been back-row fan or CdV for years. I frequent several restaurants which have it on the old-school list with Franciscan or BV for an entry-level Napa Valley experience from the ‘Class of 72’. It’s always fun. Boring–often–but fun. And firm. And solid. Never wavers far from marque. Don’t rock the boat. And nothing rocks the boat more than a solid label, plugging away for decades, suddenly receiving a great score. Such as been the hype around the 2013 Clos Du Val Napa Valley. My reasons for fairly-anxiously sourcing one was not motivated by an expectation of OMGosh wonderfulness, but a PRAYER to whatever 8lb 3oz baby Jesus you adore that it would be at LEAST reasonably reminiscent of Clos Du Val Napa Valley Cabernet versions 19.70 through 20.12. And it is. Plus, like any good ageable cab, the early proof is in the nose. Once you taste it, it’s all back to classic Lean & Mean.
In the mouth, massive black cherry fruit does not take even a second to get moving, marching a half-step ahead of sandpaper tannin which effectively block all fruit mid-palate. Still, it is a magnificent crescendo. Plum-preserve fruit-headiness edges off the considerably AL burn. Fruit turns almost musty in defense, fading quickly into a thin Nyquil rinse against the Pink Floyd WALL of structure. I have no idea what a 95AG wine tastes like and don’t care. This is a stalwart, oft-overlooked Napa Valley house making THEIR wine–again–in a year where conditions produce a wine easier to sell young. My favorite part about this wine is it IS Clos Du Val through-and-through.
EDIT: Day 2. Big flabby glycerin-ridden nose with oak in generous quantities. No fruit in mouth, only tannin.
2013 CLOS DU VAL Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14-1
Available at or on-line: TASTES OF THE VALLEYS