2012 Reserve Claret

The flavor profile of the Reserve Claret is complex, ripe, and balanced. It is a harmony of ripe fruit and rich, savory notes. This is a wine that is designed to thrill, but not to overwhelm. If you like the Claret, expect something similar only more... more intensity, more texture, more detail... tannins that are slightly softer and finer. Look for strong, brooding flavors of Bing cherry, black currant, plum, vanilla and dark berries, with notes of cassis, tobacco, leafy herbs, spring flowers, licorice and chalkboard dust. It is incredibly drinkable on release, but it promises to age gracefully, gaining complexity and detail for years—even decades—to come. Enjoy it, but save some... it’ll be worth the wait.

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"I think more balanced than the Claret, the 210-case 2012 Columbia Valley Reserve checks in as a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 11% Merlot that saw 20 months in 67% new French oak. It’s full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with lively notes of cassis, leafy herbs, spring flowers and licorice all showing in the bouquet. I love the purity of fruit here, and this is a classic Washington State Bordeaux blend that will have 15-20 years of longevity."

93 points - Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate

Tasting Notes

A heady mixture of smoke, fresh red berries, plum skin, Asian spices, and a wisp of mint and sage. A gorgeous perfume leads to a fleshy wine with fine tannins, a firm but fresh profile, and a tremendous amount of restraint. This wine is meant for ageing but has loads of fruit and would drink great early from a decanter.

Scores & Reviews

"Firm, focused, generous and expressive, layering cherry and red plum flavors with mineral and smoky earth notes, coming together with refinement on the solidly built finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Best after 2017. 225 cases made."
- Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator

"Aromas of marionberry, black cherry, smoke and game. Riper and more expansive than the 2012 Claret, offering attractive sweetness to its extroverted flavors of dark fruits and chocolatey oak. The tannins here are thick and tactile but supported by the wine’s mid-palate stuffing. Much more harmonious in the early going than the 2012 Claret."
- Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

"This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (78%), with the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Aromas of barrel spice, cedar, green herbs and black fruit are followed by tightly coiled fruit and barrel flavors that need some time to settle in."
- Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

Wine Facts


Columbia Valley


Stillwater Creek, Hedges Family Estate, Blue Mountain

Varietal Composition:

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot


67% new, 33% once used French oak



Cases Produced:



Spring 2016 – 2030

Additional Information about this vintage

Vineyard Philosophy: The reserve doesn’t come from special vineyards or blocks, it’s simply the most select juice from the same vineyards that have become the backbone of the Matthews program. This is the essence of our winery, exceptional fruit, from iconic sites, blended to showcase the world class wine that Washington can produce.

Winemaking Philosophy: Our process in the winery is much like the product that results: similar to our process for all our wines, only pushed to be more and better. The Reserve Claret is blended form a small subset of our most select barrels (Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc only). It undergoes a slightly cooler, slightly longer fermentation to achieve more compression, more density, more complexity. It also spends a little more time in barrel—19-21 months—to achieve the profile we’re looking for.

Explore the Reserve Claret Vintages

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