Posts Tagged ‘ California claret ’

Thirsty Thursday-White Rock Napa Claret 2004

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“Claret” is a conventional term that traditionally refers to red wine from the Bordeaux region of France, but it has no official, legal definition and is often used as a generic term to refer to dry red wines. It derives from “clairet,” the name for a certain type of light red wine that was exported from Bordeaux in the Middle Ages and became quite popular in England. The wine, because of its light color, was known as “vinum clarum,” “bin clar” or “clairet.” It bore little resemblance to the wines that are characteristic of Bordeaux today–but the name endures. (source: view)

Today, California claret is used as a generic label for any Bordeaux style wine. The French do not use the claret term. Most Californian claret’s showcase Cabernet Sauvignon and its blending partners; Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.  The wine has Bordeaux characteristics and can have “Old World charm ranging from smooth and complex with tight tannins to hints of chocolate, cedar and oak depending upon where it is made. California clarets can be complex and great drinking. If you prefer Old World Bordeaux style wines, California Clarets might suite your palette.
White Rock Vineyards–  A small family operated vineyard and winery located in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. I loved this wine. The bouquet was dark fruit. The tannins were subtle. The feel was “Old World”. What did I pair with this wine? My husband had a burger. That’s right a burger! Me, I had some Brie and strawberries. No meat for me (I try to avoid red meat). We were both in love with the wine as well as each other. Would I buy this wine again? Yes, but I might try to find it on sale. A $35 bottle of wine with a burger. Some may think that’s insane.

Some great Clarets to shop for (value to moderate price points):

  • Coppola Claret  $16
  • Ramey Claret 2006 90 points Int. Wine Cellar $25
  • St. Francis Claret  $20
  • Buoncristiani Napa Claret 2006 90 points Robert Parker $40
  • 2004 White Rock Vineyards Napa Claret $35 (pictured)-This is an astonishing Bordeaux-style wine from the Napa Valley. Supple and lush with loads of ripe fruit and undertones of leather and tobacco, it’s half-French, half- California in style. White Rock Vineyards was established as early as 1870 and brought back in the late ’70s by the Vandendriessche family. Made from a classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot, the 2004 Claret is a splendid wine for the price (winery).
  • Newton Claret 2007 $17
  • Cliff Creek Claret 2004  $25
  • Steltzner Vineyards Claret 2004
  • Atlas Peak Napa Claret 2004 $30

Cheers and Tweets, Adrienne, PIWC

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