Matthews Claret Columbia Valley 2021

Matthews Claret Columbia Valley 2021

Regular price$ 54.95
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What a harmonious—dare I say darn near perfect—red blend. There's so much going on in aromas and flavors, from black raspberry to Amarena cherry to blackberry cobbler, from allspice to graphite to tobacco leaf. But really it's the way this Claret is both full-bodied and utterly suave. Its fabulously rich, smooth and silky texture takes this wonderful cake and puts the cherry on it. The polish and balance is nothing short of masterful. As noted above, a harmonious and seamless blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. I highly recommend it. -Marcus

93 points Wine Spectator: "A handsome blend that's generous and structured, with dynamic black cherry and plum flavors highlighted by green tea and toasted spice flavors, finishing with polished tannins. Drink now through 2031."

96 points Paul Gregutt: "Matthews now as before specializes in Washington-style Bordeaux blends, and the Claret has long been a winery specialty. The percentages here are 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. This is not the sort of casual ‘how many barrels do we have left?’ blending that seems to happen with multi-grape expressions from wineries that focus on single varietal wines. This type of blending is hard work, and pays off in wines of substance, detail and pedigree. The Claret is almost iconic in the way it captures the black fruits, toasted barrels, ripe tannins, focused mouthfeel and defining length of these grapes in the same way as the very best wines that this state has to offer. There is a well-defined style here–once tasted you’ll know it. It’s like hearing just a couple of notes on guitar played by Jerry Garcia or Mark Knopfler–you know it’s them."

The most extraordinary winemaking coup in the history of the Pacific Northwest wine industry. That might sound like an exaggeration but actually, it might be an understatement. Nothing like it has ever happened in Oregon or Washington wine.

In July of 2021, the winemaking team at Quilceda Creek—yes, the most famous Cabernet producer in Washington and one of the most famous in the world—jumped ship. They all arrived at the same, new destination: Matthews. The trio of lead winemaker Alex Stewart (17 years at QC) and his assistants Jesse Schmidt and Hal Iverson (10 years each at QC) arrived at Matthews just in time to welcome grapes from the magnificent 2021 vintage.

The imagined potential—the potential solely on paper—had us licking our chops. The combined years of experience in the cellar of a legendary producer, the chance to show off their chops through a new lens and stellar vintage. It's seriously drool-worthy. Well, grab your napkins or use your sleeve if you must because it's time to get ordering. No need to imagine the potential: here are the first releases from the new winemaking team at Matthews and they deliver!

From the winery: The 2021 Columbia Valley Claret is an inky deep garnet in the glass with a rich magenta rim. Powerful aromas of juicy black raspberry, fresh fig, ginger spice, and cigar wrapper lead to decadent flavors of bourbon cherries, violets, blackberry pie, and allspice. The full-bodied mouthfeel is unctuous with broad velvety tannins. Graphite and ripe berry reduction remain on the dense, textural, and persistent finish.

The 2021 Matthews Columbia Valley Claret is comprised of several small vineyard parcels within the greater Columbia Valley, with key vineyard sites in Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, and Royal Slope AVA’s as well as the famed Conner Lee vineyard. This wine truly represents the broad flavor and aromatic expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon from the diverse terroirs of Washington State. The new winemaking team worked with our vineyard managers to update our viticultural practices, reducing yields (on average) by 30% for each site. These restricted yields created small, concentrated berries. Further vineyard dedication meant we were able to harvest between 3-6 weeks later than previous vintages. This allowed each site to fully develop the proper ripeness and flavor profile we were looking for.

94 points Owen Bargreen: "Every bit outstanding the 2021 Claret combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot with smaller parts Malbec and Petit Verdot. Chocolate and espresso grounds mark the nose alongside shades of huckleberry and dried herbs. The palate is soft and well-balanced with a smooth texture. Showing salty and earthy undertones, this is a fantastic showing that displays each varietal working in seamless motion. Drink 2023-2033.”

Make sure you always get a discount by using our Build a Case® program. 

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If you haven't found a full case (12 bottles) to buy today, start your Build a Case® order now by purchasing a few bottles online, by phone or email. If you order online, select the Build a Case® option. If by phone or email, just ask us to add the bottles to a Build a Case® order for you. You'll receive order confirmation and we'll cellar the wines for you at no charge.

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Build a Case® 

Make sure you always get a discount by using Build a Case® How it works:

If you haven't found a full case (12 bottles) to buy today, start your Build a Case®  now by purchasing a few bottles online, by phone or email. If you order online, select the Build a Case®  option. If by phone or email, just ask us to add the bottles to a Build a Case®  for you. You'll receive order confirmation and we'll cellar the wines for you until you reach a full case.

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Marcus and Andy's knowledge of the wines, wineries and winemakers of the area is encyclopedic and, in my experience, second to none. They have a comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the industry and a knack for recommending wines that are 'in my wheelhouse,' but also the insight to direct me toward new discoveries. I wholeheartedly recommend them to both those in the know and those who would
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