Clos du Val 2016 Estate Merlot, Napa
A storied winery that helped cement the Napa legend. Since its founding in 1972, it has been required drinking for any sommelier. This bottling of Merlot was sourced from estate vineyards in the cooler climates of Carneros and Stags Leap. Those original wines were very much in the Bordeaux style, with lean and complex structures. That is very much not this wine. This Merlot is very much a ’20s style of Napa, focusing on big and brassy flavors at the expense of funk and earth. That is not a criticism: Napa wine fans clamor for these flavors. If you are interested in the cultural ramifications of these wines, I go into detail on this subject in the L2 Sommelier Course. On the other hand, if you want a super-delicious wine that sports all the hallmarks of luxury and vinous decadence, buy a bottle or two. This bottle was priced at $20 in Pennsylvania, but you can expect to spend upwards of $40 in most states.