- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clos du Val, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005, $32.

Though by no means inexpensive, this wine offers fine value in the often inflated world of Napa Valley cabernet. It’s delicious now and promises to taste even better with a few years of cellaring.

Top Napa cabs routinely cost upward of $50, with some topping the $100 mark. This less pricey one is every bit their equal in terms of sheer quality.

Wine prices have less to do with production costs than consumer perception, and Napa cabernet is widely considered to be America’s finest wine. Good examples offer dark berry fruit flavors enhanced by compelling secondary ones. They rank with the world’s very best, regardless of varietal or appellation. Even in tough economic times, demand for them is strong, so prices remain high.

This particular Napa cabernet impresses most because it marries muscle and finesse, tasting powerful but at the same time graceful and refined. There’s nary a hint of heat or overripeness, and the disparate flavors blend together seamlessly. A very impressive wine, it’s worth a special splurge.

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