CLOS DU VAL, Stag's Leap, Napa
Founded in 1972 by Bernard Portet and John Goelet, Clos du Val was included in Steven Spurrier's 'Judgment of Paris' tasting in 1976 — a '72 Cab made from purchased fruit. In the 1986 rematch the Clos du Val placed first. The Goelet family still owns CdV, along with Taltarni in Australia and Domaine de Nizas in Languedoc. Portet's father worked at Lafite, and Goelet is descended from the Guestier family.
Clos du Val is home to three Estate vineyards:
Hirondelle Vineyard –150 acres in Stags Leap District devoted to Bordeaux varieties (and the site of Clos du Val winery);
Grand Val Vineyard – 180 acres of hillside vines in Carneros, purchased in 1973, where cool climate varieties thrive (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a little Cabernet Franc & Merlot); and
State Lane Vineyard in Yountville – 17.5 acres that have been home to winegrowing since 1836, planted to Bordeaux varietals.
The traditional Clos du Val signature was famously ‘old-school’, showing Napa fruit in a balanced, harmonious, anything-but-flashy style; always intended to be served with food. Firm tannins, moderate alcohol, and restrained use of oak are the hallmarks of the house, essentially unchanged since the beginning.
Rooted in the legendary Stags Leap District history for over 40 years, their new chapter begins. The goal: not simply to leave Clos du Val better than they found it, but to make it better than it has ever been. To achieve this, a period of unprecedented change has begun that includes a vibrant and vineyard-driven stylistic shift in the wines, and new viticultural practices that focus on lower and more intentional yields. Perhaps the most important change is the renewed focus on the Stags Leap District Cabernets that first catapulted Clos du Val to fame, and the decision to concentrate exclusively on making estate-grown wines. As part of this commitment, they have reduced their Cabernet production almost in half. At just the turn of the page to this next exciting chapter, Clos du Val will be a winery to watch closely for years to come.