Clos Du Val, French for "small vineyard estate of a small valley," was founded in 1972 in the renowned Stags Leap District. The winery was first recognized for its Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at the famed Judgment of Paris in 1976, establishing its place as one of Napa Valley's most iconic winery estates. Still family-owned today, Clos Du Val farms 350 acres of estate vineyards in Napa Valley's Stags Leap District, Carneros and Yountville sub-appellations. The winery also continues to craft wines of balance and complexity, showcasing the fruit from the outstanding terroir on which the estate lies.
"Clos du Val is in the midst of repositioning itself as a premium winery. Production is down and a focus on quality is up...When it comes to the wines there is not much to say, except that they are superb."
Antonio Galloni (Vinous), 2017
The pursuit of excellence in winemaking for Clos Du Val has meant employing precise, impactful practices. Adding cold soaks to the Cabernet program to increase color and aromatics, fermenting lots individually, instituting earlier pump-overs to create greater tannin integration, utilizing new filtration methods to limit oxidation, and revamping the barrel program to focus on only the best coopers— all together preserve vineyard character, while adding nuance and silky textural elements to the wines. “As a winery, our original roots were more in an Old World style,” says Winemaker, Ted Henry. “Now we are more fully embracing the ‘Napa Valleyness’ of our wines. We are showing the natural strengths of our vineyards. While our wines are richer and more textural than in the past, they still have lovely acid and relatively modest alcohol levels. They are wines of purity and balance.”
For more than 40 years, Clos Du Val’s estate program has centered around the Hirondelle Vineyard that was part of the original land purchase in 1972 (where the winery is located) and has evolved to include the 180-acre Gran Val Vineyard in Carneros, and the 18-acre State Lane Vineyard in Yountville. With a viticulture program guided by master Cabernet Sauvignon grower Jon-Mark Chappellet, these vineyards include more than 30 different blocks of Cabernet, with a variety of soil types and exposures, dozens of unique clone and rootstock combinations, and an array of vine ages. Clos Du Val’s specific, quality-driven viticultral practices include harvesting later to achieve optimal ripeness, reducing crop yields, increasing dappled sunlight in the vine canopy, and enhancing soil fertility.
Hirondelle Estate Vineyard, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley
The crown jewel of Clos Du Val’s estate program is a majestic vineyard in the heart of Stags Leap District. Acquired in 1972, this coveted land is home to Clos Du Val, and features 100 acres and nine different clones of some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in North America. Often referred to as a “valley within a valley,” the Stags Leap District is just three miles long and one mile wide. Celebrated for its ideal climate that draws in cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay, Stags Leap District produces wines with velvety tannins and pure varietal flavors, while retaining ideal natural acidity—qualities that are perfect for making exceptional, age-worthy wines. For more than four decades, the Hirondelle Estate Vineyard has been the source for some of the Napa Valley’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons.
Clos Du Val’s Hirondelle Estate Vineyard features approximately 126 acres of vines, divided into 34 unique blocks, each with its own combination of clone, rootstock, vine age and soil type. 103 acres of these plantings are made up of nine different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder of the vineyard planted to Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The vineyard offers a uniform east-west exposure for even ripening throughout, with well-drained Haire loam and alluvial rock soils that limit yields, increase concentration, and add a signature streak of minerality to Clos Du Val’s Cabernets. Largely replanted in the mid-1990s, all trellising uses vertical shoot positioning, and the average vine age is approximately 15 years.
Gran Val Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley
Among the appellations of the Napa Valley, Carneros is renowned for the quality and character of its Chardonnays and Pinot Noir. Influenced by summer fog and the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean, the vines enjoy abundant hangtime to slowly ripen the grapes, while preserving ideal natural acidity. In 1973, Clos Du Val purchased the Gran Val Vineyard on the Napa side of Carneros, in order to grow Burgundian varietals. Neighboring such famed winegrowing sites as Brown Ranch and Hyde Vineyard, Gran Val features 56 acres and 10 clones of Chardonnay and 41 acres and 10 clones of Pinot Noir, as well as smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Ranging in elevation from 50 feet to over 300 feet, and featuring 33 unique blocks and a range of soil types, it yields remarkably complex wines, with alluring varietal character. While most of the vines have been replanted since 1997, Gran Val includes three highly prized hilltop blocks of Chardonnay planted in 1984.
State Lane Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley
Located in historic Yountville, which has a rich winegrowing history dating back to 1836, Clos Du Val’s 17.5-acre State Lane Vineyard includes eight separate blocks, with 10.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, five acres of Cabernet Franc and two acres of Sauvignon Blanc. In 2002, the entire vineyard was replanted to Clos Du Val’s specifications. Because cool air and fog traveling north from San Pablo Bay get trapped by the Yountville Mounts, Clos Du Val’s State Lane Vineyard benefits from the region’s natural air conditioning, making it ideal for producing beautifully structured Cabernets, as well as exceptional Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.