1978 Clos Du Val Cabernet Reserve

I love getting to try old Napa Cabernet, and always appreciate getting to drink 78's.  The 78 vintage was a good year and from my experience shows much better than the younger 79's which have tended to be leaner, tougher and less interesting.

Clos du Val is a house that is very much in the Bordeaux style.  Keeping this in mind, this wine was very well made and displayed great balance, and was quite sound when we opened it; 31 years later.  This particular bottle was a three liter and was well cellared.  We had it during Thanksgiving dinner, and it was definitely the most interesting wine on the table.  We opened it about 20 minutes before sitting down, and decided not to decant it because we weren't sure if it would have the staying power.

It continued to open up in our glass for the better part of an hour and had great aromatics.  The wine had a full, rich nose that went through several phases; initially a more fruit driven and rosy nose, then progressing to more musty, funky, cave like characteristics.  I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong. This is not code for Brettanomyces! it was a clean wine, but had some great funkiness to it.  The palate was deep and rich with dark fruits.  I won't try to pull fine details out for this review, because I'm writing it after the fact and have lost some contact.

Overall, enjoy this wine, it still had life left to it and was delicious.  If you are holding on to it-remember that large format bottles age slower than 750's-so if you have a regular bottle it is going to be farther along.  Go ahead and get into it with some close friends if the opportunity presents itself.

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December 2009
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