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© 1999 JDM Enterprises
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by Jerry D. Mead

The Sonoma County, California winery with the French sounding name (pronounced clowe due bwah) is doing just fine, thank you, which means that winemaker Margaret Davenport is doing just fine. The current releases are the overall best collection of Clos Du Bois wines in memory.

Clos Du Bois 1997 "Calcaire" Chardonnay ($18) Lean citrus and pineapple fruit flavors, with subtle, but very attractive, smoky-toasty complexities. Rating: 89/84

Clos Du Bois 1996 "Alexander Valley" Shiraz ($15) Blended to 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a new entry for CDB and it's a "goody." Very voluptuous, round plum and berry fruit. A real mouth filler. Shiraz is a synonym for Syrah, by the way. Rating: 90/92

Clos Du Bois 1996 "Sonoma" Merlot ($17) The variety for which CDB is best known. Lovely soft cherry flavors, more intense than in some years, but still with that user-friendly, easy to drink style. Pleasant oak nuance in the finish. Rating: 89/87

Clos Du Bois 1996 "Alexander Valley" Merlot ($20) Wow! Think Pomerol-like intensity. Very bold, big, concentrated flavors of predominantly black cherry. A real mouthful and with just developing complexity. Enjoyable now, better in 3-5 years. Rating: 93/90

Clos Du Bois "Alexander Valley" Tempranillo ($30) There's only 250 cases of this first (to my knowledge) American bottling of the Spanish red variety, a quantity so small I wouldn't usually review it. There are several mitigating factors here. The wine is very good. There will be more in the future. It is a first. All proceeds go to charity. The bottling honors a long time CDB employee named Inez Ferrari who even gets her picture on the label. And she's not some big executive, just a very versatile, very loyal employee. Berries, plums and wild violets is the statement, in a wine that is mouthfilling without being harsh. Released at the winery January 1, it is 100 percent varietal and is a non-vintage blend of two years, 1995 and 1996. A definite collectable and testimony that the variety does have a future here. Rating: 90/84

Clos Du Bois 1995 "Alexander Valley" Marlstone ($30) This wonderful wine is a Meritage-type, a blend of 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 45 percent Merlot and 10 percent Malbec. Insert nose in glass...imagine you're in Bordeaux! Classic wood, berry and green olive aromas and flavors in this wine aged in 50 percent brand new barrels. It smells so good you may want to put a dab behind your ears. In the mouth, it enters strong and then intensifies. Rating: 94/88

Clos Du Bois 1995 "Alexander Valley" Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) This 100 percent varietal is another dandy and another red wine reminiscent of Bordeaux. Big berry flavors dominate here, ranging from boysen through blackberry. Really nicely oaked with earthy, smoky, barrel-char complexity. A wine that will improve with cellaring. Rating: 92/84


Clos Du Bois 1997 "Sonoma" Chardonnay (about $10) Amazing! Produced in very large quantities and widely available...but don't hold that against it. Almost entirely barrel-fermented, there's ripe apple, melon and a little tropical fruit to go with the resulting really forward oak. Case purchases recommended. Rating: 89/94

Clos Du Bois wines have broad national distribution, though the Tempranillo will most easily be found at the winery: Clos Du Bois, 19410 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, CA 95441 (707) 857-1651. There also a website at:, with a wine-food affinity chart.


If you're into wine and into computers, there's a new source of information and a place to meet and share opinions with other wine lovers on the World Wide Web. "Yours truly," has the privilege of being one of the moderators, using the screen name of Wine Curmudgeon, so stop on by and say hello.

It's called The Wine Board, and reach it at:

There are dozens of topics covered, including every imaginable wine variety and type, plus "folders" for wine and health, wine and politics, wine books, collectables, auctions and more.

It's the kind of site where you leave a message or question and check back later for a response. Also participants leave tasting notes and wining-dining experiences for the benefit of others...and tasters don't always agree.


According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the citizens of Chicago have voted 20 percent of the city "dry" in the last couple of years. Sounds like Prohibition is making a comeback. If you think there's trouble with crime associated with drug dealers, just wait until they criminalize wine, beer and spirits and bring the "bootleggers" back.


We have a small supply of 3-inch high, heart-shaped buttons with various wine slogans that sell for $1.50. To start the year off right for wine fanciers, we'll offer a different one each week at an almost giveaway price.

To get your heart-shaped (because moderate wine consumption is heart healthy) button that says: "Have You Had Your Glass Of Red Wine Today?," send $1 for each button and we'll even pay the postage. Send to: Heart-shaped Button, Box 1598, Carson City, NV 89702.

These buttons are guaranteed to be conversation starters. Folks in elevators, in line at the bank, post office or grocery store, will not be able to resist a comment. You'll find new wine lovers and you may get the chance to promote the health benefits of wine. We have one doctor friend who never fails to have one on his lab coat.

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Wines are scored using a unique 100 point system. First number rates quality; second number rates value.

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