Clos Du Val's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is intense, powerful and yet medium in body, as wines from this vintage tend to be. I would give the 2014 at least a year or two in bottle, as the wine comes across as a bit sinewy and shut down relative to how it tasted from barrel. This is an impressive, classically proportioned Stags Leap Cabernet endowed with lovely precision and brightness. Clos du Val is in the midst of a significant transformation. The new team headed by industry veterans Steve Tamburelli, Jon-Mark Chappellet and Ted Henry have put into place an ambitious plan to raise quality that includes a focus on estate fruit for their Cabernets. Clos du Val presently makes three Cabernets; the entry-level Estate (which is all from the Stags Leap property), the Hirondelle (which is also the new name for the Stags Leap site) and the Three Graces, a new high end blend that replaces the Reserve. Clos du Val has renamed their Stags Leap property Hirondelle and also planted a new vineyard in Yountville called Les Graces (not to be confused with the new Three Graces wine). It will take some time before the results of all this work are completely apparent, but quality has been on the upswing here for a few years. Although the potential of the new Les Graces site is unknown, Hirondelle is one of the most intriguing vineyards in Napa Valley and is clearly capable of producing world-class Cabernet. (AG)
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