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1997 Clos du Val Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

January 27, 2012 - Norman Bentley

We don't regularly drink fifteen year old bottles of wine, but the other night, we broke out a bottle of wine given to me by one of my favorite salesmen several years ago. Of course ten to fifteen years old is often the the correct age range for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to be at its best. This one was the 1997 Clos du Val Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was excellent, and just about at its peak.

1997 was the 25th anniversary of Clos du Val, and this was a significant release to commemorate their anniversary. I believe there are still some bottles of this available on-line at around $100. The original release price in 2000 was around $50. Clos du Val is located in the Napa Valley about 5 miles north of Napa on the Silverado Trail. This Cabernet was aged in oak for 14 months and has an alcohol content of 13.5%.

In 2000 the "Wine Enthusiast" rated the Clos Du Val Cab at a 90 score, but the extra ten years in the bottle have improved the wine, and I would now say that it is at least a 95. The fruit presence is still powerful, with abundant flavors of cherry and blueberry swimming amid nuances of spice and herbal flowers. The tannins have mellowed and the wine exhibts a smooth and mellow vanilla oak presence. The finish is long and lingering with less acidity than the wine would have had ten years ago. All in all, this is what a mature Cab should taste like at the peak of its life. It is with regret that we cannot enjoy wines like this one more often. It would have been nice to have a whole case, but I am thankful for the bottle we enjoyed, and the friend who made it available to us.

Norm's score is 95.

Score: 95

Price: $49 - $99


WINE - God's proof of his love for humanity


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