The nondynamical correlation energy may be defined as the difference between full configuration interaction within the space of all valence orbitals and a single determinant of molecular orbitals (Hartree-Fock theory). In order to describe bond breaking, diradicals, and other electronic structure problems where Hartree-Fock theory fails, a reliable description of nondynamical correlation is essential as a starting point. Unfortunately, the exact calculation of nondynamical correlation energy, as defined above, involves computational complexity that grows exponentially with molecular size and is thus unfeasible beyond systems of just two or three heavy atoms. We introduce a new hierarchy of feasible approximations to the nondynamical correlation energy based on coupled-cluster theory with variationally optimized orbitals. The simplest member of this hierarchy involves connected double excitations within the variationally optimized valence active space and may be denoted as VOO-CCD, or VOD. VOO-CCD is size-consistent, has computational complexcity proportional to the sixth power of molecule size, and is expected to accurately approximate the nondynamical correlation energy in such cases as single bond dissociation, diradicals, and anti-ferromagnetic coupling. We report details of our implementation of VOO-CCD and illustrate that it does indeed accurately recover the nondynamical correlation energy for challenging multireference problems such as the torsion of ethylene and chemical bond breaking.