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1980 Clos du Val Zinfandel

Zinfandel • Napa Valley • Red Wine

Sale expired on December 26, 2010
30 Year Old Zinfandel from a Top Napa Winery

After the success of last week’s 1979 Zinfandel offer from Clos du Val, I went back to the winery to see what else might be hiding in their cellars. I tasted through a few vintages and chose the 1980 to feature on its 30th birthday.

From my experience in tasting from cellars around the world, one thing that makes a huge difference is the provenance, or history of a wine. When I worked at Christie’s auction house I was often stunned at just how good wines can  read more...

After the success of last week’s 1979 Zinfandel offer from Clos du Val, I went back to the winery to see what else might be hiding in their cellars. I tasted through a few vintages and chose the 1980 to feature on its 30th birthday.

From my experience in tasting from cellars around the world, one thing thatRead more...

After the success of last week’s 1979 Zinfandel offer from Clos du Val, I went back to the winery to see what else might be hiding in their cellars. I tasted through aRead more...

After the success of last week’s 1979 Zinfandel offer from Clos du Val, I went back to the winery to see what else might be hiding in their cellars. I tasted through a few vintages and chose the 1980 to feature on its 30th birthday.

From my experience in tasting from cellars around the world, one thing that makes a huge difference is the provenance, or history of a wine. When I worked at Christie’s auction house I was often stunned at just how good wines can become if stored impeccably, not subjected to much travel and a well-built wine to begin.

Compared to retail offerings of older vintages or those found at auction, this Clos du Val Zinfandel over-delivers in each of these ways. It has not been moved all around the country where the temperatures vary, but rather it comes to you directly from the winery where it rested for all these years in perfect conditions.

Clos du Val is a winery with proven ability to create wines with longevity and this 1980 shows far beyond other wines of this vintage that I’ve tasted. It has a ripe attack that hits you with cranberry and cherry but quickly fades to leather, coffee and dusty saddle leather. A fascinating and very enjoyable experience.

It is a rare opportunity for an affordable look at the history of California winemaking. And this bottle comes from esteemed winery Clos du Val that took first place in a rematch of the legendary Paris Tasting 10 years later, proving the ageing prowess of the wines.

The level of both bottles I had were “into neck,” which in auction terms is perfection. The level of the liquid in the bottle remains high and in the neck of the bottle, which means that there is less oxygen to deteriorate the wine. It is also an indication that the wine has been stored well and that it never experienced hot conditions. The color also attests to the excellent storage, for it still has a ruby core and with orange toned brickish edges.

—Dini Rao

Dini Rao has 12 years of wine experience, working in senior roles for both Amazon’s and Christie’s wine programs. At Christie’s, she evaluated the world’s finest wines for auction, including wines dating back to the 1700s. Dini earned a Diploma with Merit from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust ® and is a candidate for the Masters of Wine, which only 30 people in the US hold. Follow Dini on Twitter: @dinivino

Winemaker's Notes

Medium color. Lighter garnet with dark orange lip. Fruit, toffee, earth and some toast. Round, centered, complex, good fruit and acid. Good middle. A solid wine.

13.8% Alc., 3.32 pH, 6.58g/L TA.

Appellation America

"...Portet is perhaps best known for making some of the most long-lived wines in the Napa Valley. That’s most likely due to the fact that Portet was raised in Bordeaux where he spent many years working with his dad, a régisseur (technical director) at Château Lafite. In other words, Portet believed he could make wines in the Napa Valley in the same way as they’d been doing in France." Allan Golfarb

Snooth
86

"A little anise, slightly leafy, faint red fruits, some sweet tobacco, a bit charry, American oaky, tarry, leathery - Nice balance on entry, bright with faint but fresh amarena cherry and plum fruit. The tannins are brittle and the wine rather medium bodied with solid bright sour/bitter cherry fruit on the backend that yields to a soft oaken underlay. Very nicely balanced in the mouth and while drying out still offers some attractive fruit notes accented by leather and spice. Finish is short. Rather like an old Chianti." Gregory Dal Piaz

Clos Du Val Winery Website