Clos Du Val Winery2003 Merlot
Clos du Val makes wines for the long haul. It so happens that this Merlot is built for short-term drinking – let’s say, over the next five, six years. But that’s not to be construed as a negative. Because this is an excellent wine, and when one factors in the price (what with the average cost of a Napa Valley red being 50 bucks these days), we have a good deal here.
Winemaker John Clews has designed the wine utilizing perfectly ripened fruit from various locales in the valley – mostly from the Stags Leap District. There are aromas of cherries, strawberries and cassis. While there may not be great complexity, this Merlot has a lot going on and it will reward the consumer.
The wine was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 25 percent of which were new. I also like the fact that the listed alcohol is 14.1 percent and it doesn’t reveal itself in any sort of hotness or grip. There were 5,250 cases produced, not a small number, but a quantity large enough that in the hands of a lesser winemaker, there wouldn’t be this attention to detail.
Reviewed August 22, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.