2012 Ramey Napa Valley Claret
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid ruby. Expressive aromas of dark berry preserves, candied flowers, pipe tobacco and white pepper. Fleshy and open-knit, offering sweet blackcurrant and cherry compote flavors lifted and sharpened by juicy acidity. Supple tannins build slowly on the finish, which repeats the berry and tobacco notes.
The 2012 Claret is a fabulous wine for the money. Bright red fruit, iron, smoke, spices and dried flowers lift from the glass in a vibrant, perfumed Cabernet Sauvignon-based red long on personality. Expressive floral and spice notes add lift on the finish. The style is a bit lighter than is typically found in the Ramey Cabernets, which also contributes to the wine's early accessibility. (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Ramey has always done a good job with Cabernet Sauvignon. He produces 6,000 cases of his Claret, a lighter-styled, immediately drinkable red wine. The 2012 Claret is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and the rest Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Its dark ruby hue is accompanied by notes of cedarwood, roasted herbs, and red and blackcurrants in a flavorful, medium-bodied, elegant, surprisingly Bordeaux-like style. This supple red is ideal for drinking now and over the next 7-8 years. (RP)
Ramey's Claret is made entirely from Napa Valley fruit, a cuvée of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Syrah, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It was aged in a combination of French and American oak for 12 months before being lightly fined and bottled unfiltered. Ramey delivers excellent value across their entire portfolio, but this is an excellent example of an overachieving entry-level wine. It is also a good introduction to the highly anticipated 2012 Napa Valley vintage and a hint of things to come.