2011 Ramey Napa Valley Claret (Previously $35)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Claret is round, fresh, fruity and soft. It is a competently made red to drink with a steak or stew over the next 3-4years. David Ramey has long had one of the most impressive resumes for any California winemaker. He worked at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux and for Christian Moueix at Dominus. He also consulted and worked for a number of high end Napa Valley wineries....Ramey’s early experience was primarily with Bordeaux varietals, so it’s not surprising that he continues to do a stunning job with his assortment of Bordeaux-based wines. As one might expect, the 2011s are soft, easy-to-drink efforts that many consumers may find more appealing than the 2010s, which are much bigger, richer and more classic.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright purple. Fresh, clove-accented red berry and cherry aromas show an energetic, sharply focused personality. Youthful, deep redcurrant and cherry-vanilla flavors pick up sweetness with air. Quite open, with no rough edges. Finishes with good breadth and length, leaving a subtle smoky note behind.
There are teasing suggestions of richness and a bit of complexity to be found here as hints of olives, a touch of tea leaf and a veneer of sweet oak join with a nice, if slightly subdued element of black cherry fruit. The wine is weighty but does not give itself up to tannin, and its slight, concluding, toothpicky pucker should be made moot by service with food or a few years of age.
Sweet tobacco, plums, mint and anise all meld together in the 2011 Claret. An attractive, mid-weight wine, the 2011 is best enjoyed over the next handful of years. Savory herbs, crushed flowers and a hint of French oak linger on the finish. The 2011 naturally lacks the structure and depth of the very best vintages, but the super-classic flavor profile is quite appealing.
This is Ramey's best value Cabernet Sauvignon blend. "We call it our roast chicken Cabernet as opposed to our steak Cabernet," the winery says. With Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot Syrah and Cab Franc.