Bonny Doon Vineyard, A Proper Claret, California, USA, 2013
Owned by Randall Grahm, and not quite a proper claret, since tannat, syrah and petite syrah are not permitted .. however during the 18th and 19th centuries there was a flow of syrah or ‘Hermitage’ from the Northern Rhone to Bordeaux to give backbone and colour to the Bordeaux blend. From 2004 Chateau Palmer of Margaux has introduced the Historical XIX Century Chateau Palmer, a blend of cabernet sauvignon/merlot and around 15% syrah, from the Rhone; from 2010 this wine is classifed as Vin de France.
This wine – a blend of cabernet sauvignon (46%), merlot (17), tannat (15), petit verdot (13), syrah (8) and petite syrah aka durif (1); screw cap closure, 13.5% abv, Costco, £12
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of medium (+) intensity, developing, with black fruit aromas of black currant, warm black cherry and ripe black berry; a little spice, and low-key woody and lesser cut black currant wood notes.
Palate: a dry wine, with medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, of medium (+) intensity, with an opening flavour of ripe blackcurrant, then black berry and black plum juice, with a low-key woody note. A medium (+) length with a clean moderately grippy black-berried finish.
Quality: a good quality well-made wine, with perfectly balanced acidity and alcohol with intensity of flavour, with a backbone of harmonious firm ripe tannins, and deft use of oak. A wine showing modest complexity but with good concentration of flavour, which follows through on the length, which is slightly short. This wine is ready now, but has the structure and character to evolve and improve with cellaring over 3-5 years.