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94pt Clos du Bois Marlstone Red Alexander Valley 2012

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This wine is sold by Jackson Wines & Spirits, a California licensed retailer
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Clos du Bois has evolved from hidden gem to passionately followed Napa pillar over the last couple of decades. As their star has ascended, their underlying mission of infusing the classic French winemaking style to California grapes remains immovably intact. This remarkable Bordeaux-style blend provides irrefutable proof of this, as winemaker Gary Sitton culls the best grapes yielded from 2012’s already legendary harvest to put forth a sensual, black-hued expression of complex depth and graceful smoothness. Aromatics of black currant, mocha, and toasted oak give way to an elegantly dense palate blanket of blackberry before ending on a long, chewy note.

About the wine

Novice vintners may have been intimidated by the abundant fruit produced by 2012’s absurdly exceptional growing conditions. Gary Sitton is not a novice vintner, something that’s abundantly clear with Clos du Bois’ brilliant Bordeaux-style blend. With a skillful eye and a wealth of well-honed instincts, Gary made his way through a host of vineyards within the Alexander Valley AVA to find exceptional grapes amongst row after row of grapes that were merely very good. Taking the extra dram of patience required to source the cream of the crop’s top layer paid off remarkable dividends. Silky smooth and powerfully dense, this inky black beauty is everything the late viticultural pioneer Frank Woods envisioned when he founded Clos du Bois over 40 years ago. A luscious swirl of black currant, blackberry, mocha, roasted oak, and graphite greet the nose. This complex melange of notes segues to a weighty expression of blackberry that coats the palate in a gracefully sleek manner. Lush, chewy tannins guide to a lengthy finish. It’s a label that speaks to the importance of Frank’s ambition of yore. It also demonstrates just how on target that ambition was.

Winemaker: Gary Sitton
Appellation: Alexander Valley 
94 pts, Alex Casella, WSET Advanced
4.2/5.0, Vivino Users, 149 Reviews 
Grapes72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec
Vineyards: 41% Fox Hill Vineyard, 15% Black Oak Vineyard, 6% J’s Ranch, 38% Other Alexander Valley Vineyards
Cooperage: 24 months in French Oak
ABV: 14.4%

About the winery & vineyards

When Frank Woods founded Clos Du Bois in 1974, his mission was to apply French winemaking style to California grapes. It was a radical concept back in the day; one that would eventually make the Marlstone label the first Bordeaux-style blend crafted in Sonoma. Of course, it turned out to be a pretty good idea. So much so, Wine Spectator dubbed the winery “California’s Best Kept Secret” back in 1986. The cat escaped the bag long ago, but what has remained firmly intact is the winery’s unwavering commitment to passionately producing wines that match Frank’s pioneering spirit and vision. The creation of this exquisite Bordeaux-style blend upholds the memory of the late Napa game-changer in a huge way. For its creation, former Clos Du Bois winemaker Gary Sitton turned to an All-Star roster of vineyards planted in Napa’s renowned Alexander Valley AVA, including gems like Fox Hill Vineyard, Black Oak Vineyard, and J’s Ranch. Each vine brings its own interpretation of the appellation’s ocean-influenced Mediterranean climate and eclectic, well-draining soil. This diverse character provides a level of fruit-driven complexity that can effortlessly evokes the beauty of Bordeaux, just as Frank intended over four decades ago.

About the winemaker

Clos Du Bois doesn’t entrust Frank Woods’ legacy to just anyone. That axiom alone is a testament to Gary Sitton’s supreme winemaking skills. Equipped with a Master’s degree in Enology and Viticulture from UC Davis, Sitton honed his strong viticultural acumen with impressive stints at Ravenswood and Blackstone Sonoma Winery prior to joining the Clos du Bois team in 2010. His uncanny knack for crafting refined wines that honored Frank’s French-influenced winemaking approach was the calling card for every vintage he painstakingly produced. After Gary parted ways with Clos Du Bois in 2015, the winery entrusted its legend to the capable hands of Melissa Stackhouse. She not only boasts an impressive resume that’s loaded with eye-catching names like La Crema and Jackson Family Vineyards, but she carries a uniquely passionate viticultural approach that emphasizes artistry and the balance that exists between the vine and the land.

94 pts Alex Casella, WSET Advanced

"Color of dark purple with ruby hue. Nose of exotic blackberry, blueberry compote, seductive raspberry, scorched earth, tar, smoke, eucalyptus, toffee, generous oak, and coffee bean. The palate is big and bold up front with lots of black fruits, fig, blueberries and raspberries. Fleshy in the mid palate finishing with silky tannins and persistent acidity. Cabernet has the bulk of the attention in this wine but is really nuanced by the additions of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This will drink well over the next 5- 10 years, but already blossoming now."




Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
Masterful CA Bordeaux - Clos du Bois 2012, Marlstone Red
2012 Marlstone Red fr Clos du Bois
2012 Marlstone Red fr Clos du Bois
Gary Sitton culls top grapes from 2102’s epic harvest to craft a sensual, expression of depth and graceful smoothness.
Gary Sitton culls top grapes from 2102’s epic harvest to craft a sensual, expression of depth and graceful smoothness.
Sonoma’s First Bordeaux-Style Blend
“CA’s Best Kept Secret” per WS
2017-5-7 23:59:00 -08:00:00
#review=Alex Casella, WSET Advanced:
94 / 100
#stars_review=Vivino Users (149 Reviews), 4.2:
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Last Bottles: Masterful CA Bordeaux - Clos du Bois 2012, Marlstone Red

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