Saturday, November 7, 2009

Clos du Bois A Tasty Californian Brand

As a wine writer at a small Northeast Oregon newspaper I figure that I have “arrived”. No, it’s not that I’m something spectacular, or that I’m even well read or respected for my opinion. Heck, I still rely pretty heavily on spell check. I know that I’ve “arrived” when people actually ask me to drink their wines.

As you have probably noticed, I usually write about Northwest based wines. However, this week I am making a pretty big jump to a California winery. The reason is simply that they asked very nicely.

Last week I was contacted by Kylie, a representative for the Clos du Bois winery located in Geyserville, California. Kylie suggested that I try a few of their wines, which I admit I had seen on grocery store shelves before but had never tasted.

Clos du Bois, pronounced CLO doo Bwah, originated in 1974 in the now famous Alexander Valley AVA of the Sonoma California region. Frank Woods, the originator wanted to name it “Woods Winery”, but his children who were studying French at the time came up with the name, which means “enclosure in the woods”.

Clos du Bois offers three tiers of wines to the public, including their Classic series, their Sonoma Reserve series, and their Proprietary series. The series that we are able to enjoy here in Northeast Oregon is the Classic series, which is what you will find in local stores.

Winemaker Erik Olsen does have local roots here in Eastern Oregon though. His past history includes being the winemaker for one of the finest wines ever produced by Chateau Ste. Michelle, the renowned 2000 Single Berry Select Riesling. As winemaker at Clos, he has put amazing energy into producing fabulous wines in all three tiers.

First I tasted the 2008 Pinot Grigio. It opened crisp on the nose with apples and citrus. As the wine warmed in the glass it opened up to reveal more melon flavors. The acidity on the finish was very nice. I tasted this with fresh cheve’ on toast and loved it!

The 2008 Sonoma Rose’ is made from 80% syrah and 20% merlot. It is filled with flavors and scents of strawberries, watermelon, and cherries. The mineral flavors in the finish make it very crisp. I had this with butternut squash soup and it was a perfect pairing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2007 North Coast Pinot Noir. It has flavors of cherry, blackberries, cranberry, and a wonderful earthiness of fresh chanterelles. Unlike other Pinot Noirs of its price range it remained very fresh through the finish. I would highly recommend this wine if you are serving duck, or veal. I had it with smoked oysters. Yum!

Last, I tried the 2006 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. A nice nose of dark stone fruits, vanilla, and blackberries led to flavors of baking spices and mocha. I was very impressed with the layered depth and finish of this wine for its price. I would serve it with red meats or as a glass by the fire in the evening.

The next time you are in the store I suggest picking up some Clos du Bois. It is definitely worth trying.


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