Clos du Val is a name that I’d heard of but had yet to experience until just recently. The winery has been around since the 1970s Napa Valley boom and it seems that they’ve not just lasted through the years, but have developed and refined both their vineyards and their winemaking, becoming the triumph they are today. Once a Cab-dominant wine program, Clos du Val now boasts a full portfolio showcasing all the varietals the region does well. In the past I’ve been hesitant about Carneros Pinot Noirs — and, yes, I know it’s something the sub-AVA is known for. It’s just within these past two or three years that I’ve seen an increase in a more “hands-off” approach span across both grape growers and winemakers in this area, and I have to say that the results have been phenomenal (and delicious). Case and point is this estate Pinot Noir from Clos du Val. 

About the Wine: The Clos du Val 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Clos du Val estate vineyards located in the Carneros AVA of Napa Valley, California. The grapes were fermented in 100% stainless steel, undergoing pumpovers three times daily. The wine then aged in 100% French oak barrels (45% new) for 9 months.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Pinot Noir and breathe in scents of chocolate, cherry, and oak wood. This Pinot Noir is a beautiful dark cranberry color on the pour, settling into the glass a bit more purple, creating a jewel-like maroon shade. Initial aromas are of dried rose petals (perhaps a hint of lavender as well?), and brighter fruits like cranberries, a few boysenberries, mixed in with that plump black cherry. There’s a clear line of acidity to swirl. Swirl and release an herbaceous quality to accompany those fruits and florals. The acid combines, creating a more perfumey quality than a potpourri quality to those floral notes.

The palate of the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is soft, silky, round, with that acidity delicately piercing through like a needle through the center, culminating to a warm spice finish. Dominant flavors are of black cherry, milk chocolate, oak wood, boysenberry, indecipherable herbs, and a warm brown-spice heat, reminiscent of cinnamon sensation (but not the flavor).

Food Pairing: I paired the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Pinot Noir with a simple wrap: turkey, swiss, roasted red pepper and wilted spinach. I also had a side salad of fresh spinach, tomatoes, cranberries and an apple cider vinaigrette. That vinaigrette highlighted the voluptuousness and plushy-ness of those fruits adding a bit more texture than previously noted. The kind of bland and cruciferous tastes and textures of the fresh spinach brought out the freshness of those fruit notes. And the turkey itself, which was infused with some herbs, played well with the overall soft qualities of the wine. And though the sweetness of the cranberries flattened out the wine just a bit, it did help showcase some savory notes that weren’t detected upon tasting the wine on its own.

Perfect mid-week meal pairing.

That being said, noting the flavor combination of this fun little sandwich, I’m highly looking forward to pairing this wine with my next Thanksgiving dinner.

More Info: I received the Clos du Val 2016 Estate Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Ben!) Price: $38. For more information about Clos du Val, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Clos du Val website.

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