Although 2009 was quite temperate, late October was warm and sunny which allowed our merlot blocks to achieve our desired level of ripeness and intensity. 2009 is the first vintage that we have incorporated a few barrels of a new block of clone 3 merlot (named in honor of our vineyard manager David Orozco) into the claret blend, along with the stalwart Lower Mountain Top merlot (also clone 3) and Rock Arch cabernet sauvignon that have traditionally comprised this cuvée. The results are heavenly, with unctuous notes of red plum, currant, coffee, dark chocolate and wild huckleberry. The texture is all silkiness on the palate, building to a crescendo of concentrated fruit and a velvety tannin structure. An authentic claret, this wine is truly more than the sum of its parts.

Appellation: Napa/Sonoma
Vintage: 2009
Harvest: November 2009
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 63% Merlot
37% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.8%
Bottling: September 2011
Production: 508 cases
Release Date: April 2012
Price: $130.00
SOLD OUT

Reviews

  • Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: November 2013 online
    Rating: 90

    63% Merlot; 37% Cabernet Sauvignon. It may be principally comprised of Merlot, and it is, in fact, very long on outgoing, optimally ripened fruit, but this fleshy, full-bodied wine is structured more along sturdy Cabernt lines and is one whose best clearly lies years ahead.  Its showy beginnings and obvious richness are reasons enough to believe in its future, but only with time will its tannic toughness abate and all of its many pieces coalesce. 

  • Wine Spectator: November 30, 2012
    Rating: 93

    A knockout blend that combines the finesse of Merlot with the power of mountain Cabernet fruit. Aromas of red currant, loamy earth and mocha lead to focused and layered black cherry, dried herb and cedar flavors wrapped in dense, fleshy tannins. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2014 through 2019. 508 cases made. –TF

  • The Wine Advocate: December 2012
    Rating: 94+

    The Merlot-based 2009 Claret Reserve is gorgeous. Juicy dark cherries, tobacco, smoke and cloves jump out of the glass. The Merlot gives the wine much of its suppleness, while the Cabernet adds the structure and pure mountain tannin. Even with all of its richness, the 2009 remains light on its feet for such a big wine. The2009 boasts striking balance and tons of harmony. The blend is two-thirds Merlot and one-third Cabernet Sauvignon. Naturally, the Claret doesn't have the personality of the estate's variety wines, but it is compelling just the same. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.

  • Wine Enthusiast: October 2013
    Rating: 92

    This is a huge, extracted Cabernet, potent in blackberry and cherry jam flavors, with plenty of oak influence. It shows the intensity of a Pride red wine as well as the tough mountain tannins. Impressive now for sheer power, and should develop over the next 8-10years. 
    Cellar Selection. - S.H