2012 Claret

Young wine regions sometimes struggle to find their identity, but with the Matthews Claret, we’re showing that Washington can present classic wines that resonate in any market. This widely loved red wine is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, rounded out with a touch of Malbec and Petit Verdot—classic Bordeaux varietals that thrive here in Washington. The Claret has become a “go-to” wine for many people, the kind of bottle that pairs equally well with an opulent night out or burgers in the backyard. Our unique access to amazing vineyard sites and a state-of-the-art facility allows us to produce this boutique quality wine at a more accessible scale and deliver a tremendous wine to our fans.

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"This wine is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 3% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. It displays fruit-forward aromas of blackberry seed, plum, asphalt and spice. The flavors are dense, focused and layered, showing depth, purity and texture."

93 points - Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

Tasting Notes

Sappy currants, plum skin and dark spices. The nose is rich but fresh with notes of dried red berries mixed with blackberry and plum jam. The palate has volume but shows good density and has more of a Cabernet driven tannin profile, giving the wine great composure and balance.

Scores & Reviews

"Generous, velvety and nicely focused to deliver juicy plum, currant and cherry flavors against a layer of nubby tannins, the finish persisting with impressive length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2022. 1,886 cases made."
92 points - Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator

"A step back from the 2013, the 2012 Claret (54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and the rest Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot) is still outstanding, with lots of chocolaty dark fruits, bitter herbs, wood smoke and tobacco notes all emerging from the glass. Full-bodied, bright, focused and with notable acidity, it’s slightly extracted, but opens up nicely with time in the glass and will benefit from a year or two in the cellar. It should drink nicely through 2027. Note, this is the last vintage where the blend will include Syrah."
90 points - Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate

Wine Facts

Appellation:

Columbia Valley

Vineyard(s):

Stillwater Creek, Dionysus, Hedges Family Estate, Pepper Bridge, Bacchus, Weinbau, Blue Mountain

Varietal Composition:

54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cab Franc, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 3% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot

Aging:

40% New, 60% used French oak

Alcohol:

14.5%

Cases Produced:

1,886

Drinkability:

Now-2025

Trade Materials

Additional Information about this vintage

Vineyard Philosophy Our decision-making process for every vintage starts in the fields. We’ve cultivated a great vineyard program with sites chosen for their unique characteristics and their consistency. These are growers that we have eight, nine, ten-year relationships with, and we source from all across Washington state—Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Royal Slope, Wahluke Slope. This diversity enables us to be incredibly choosy about what goes into our blends and to produce a wine that is remarkably consistent in its presentation.

Food Pairings Steak, Lamb, Venison, Pasta, Shepherd’s Pie, Salmon, Tuna, Cheese, dark chocolate. Big fruit balanced with great tannins and acidity make the Claret is a wonderful and versatile food wine. It pairs well with steak, lamb and gamier meats like venison. It loves a pasta, a shepherd’s pie or a hearty stew. It’s a great compliment to chicken, duck, and even rich fish like salmon or tuna. It’s great for a group that includes aficionados and novice wine drinkers, or a dinner party with friends who you don’t need to impress but want to anyway. It’s the perfect thing to reach for on a Friday night out or on a Tuesday, when you really just feel like crackers and good cheese for dinner and a little dark chocolate for dessert.

The Vintage 2012 was among the best vintages in Washington State, due to warm (but not too warm) weather and no issues with frost. Vineyards enjoyed steady and even ripening, which allowed for structure and elegance. Cooler evenings helped in maintaining great levels of acidity and balance.

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