Our Reserve Claret is assembled from the most expressive wines our estate produces each year, typically in the ratio of about 60% merlot to 40% cabernet sauvignon. In 2014, our Lower Mountain Top merlot (the source for both our Claret’s merlot component as well as our Vintner Select Merlot) was harvested on October 11th, while the cabernet component, from our Rock Arch vineyard, was harvested in several parcels between October 14th – 18th. All of the wines were fermented and aged individually, with blending conducted in the spring of 2016. The final blend consists of 56% merlot and 44% cabernet sauvignon. A lovely nose defined by graphite, rose, plum and black cherry notes is balanced by nice acidity and fine, ripe tannins. The texture on the palate is dark, dense and broad, with a subtle savory/umami quality. -- Winemaker Sally Johnson

Appellation: Sonoma/Napa
Vintage: 2014
Harvest: October 2014
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 56% Merlot
44% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.6%
Bottling: December 2016
Production: 535 cases
Release Date: May 2017
Price: $145.00

Reviews

  • The Wine Advocate: Issue 233, October 31st, 2017
    Rating: 94+

    Composed of 56% Merlot and 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 77% coming from Sonoma and 23% from Napa, the 2014 Claret Reserve is medium to deep garnet-purple in color and offers notes of mulberries, warm plums, red currant jelly and kirsch with hints of underbrush, cigar box and pencil lead. Medium-bodied, soft, elegantly fruited and very earthy in the mouth, it has a nice suggestion of chew to the texture and plenty of invigorating freshness, finishing with great length.

  • Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: November 2017
    Rating: 95

    This blend is perhaps Exhibit No. 1 in the “adding some Cabernet to Merlot makes great sense” argument. That is, of course, if you want your Merlot to have serious structure and longevity as opposed to the more mid-term succulence found in many of the best 100% or near 100% Merlots. Whatever, your preference, there are plenty of wines that suit both bills, and, clearly, this deep, still-tight effort falls squarely into the “put it in the cellar” camp. Its involving aromas of black cherries, currants, cola and rich soil are followed on the palate by fairly tightly wound, yet solidly fruited flavors whose layers and depth suggest a decade of fully rising, complexing character and the capability of aging well for a second decade and more.

  • California Grapevine: December 2017
    Rating: 92

    Medium-dark ruby; attractive, deep, intense, dark cherry, dark currant, and blackberry fruit aroma with floral notes and hints of dried herbs, leather, graphite, and vanilla; full body; rich, ripe, earthy, cedary, nicely balanced, red and black fruit flavors with bright acidity and a note of toasty oak; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Approachable and pleasing to drink now, though best to age for another three to five years. Very highly recommended. 14.6% alcohol; 535 cases; blend of 44% CS and 56% Merlot; released March 2017. (Group Score: 16.4, 2/5/3; My Score: 17 [92/100], first place)