I love the word ‘Claret’ on a bottle. There is NOTHING I will gravitate faster toward in a line-up than something labeled Claret. Though the word has little meaning now, classically a lighter Bordeaux marketed toward the English, although there is an argument for EVERYTHING Bordeaux in England called ‘Claret’. Big fan of Donati for their Paicines stuff, this is *Paso Robles*, but I HAD to try. A typical BDX blend–though headed off by Cab–this has many of the Paso hallmarks built into it–though in a somewhat lighter package.
Dark ruddy ruby in the glass, an oily nose tipped with burnt vegetal and deep candied spice. The fruit is rich and ripe–decadent even–showing mainstays of the region across all fronts.
Tasting it reflects a heady, intensely-ripe elixir of dark berry and thick cherry. Shallow in places one would expect earthiness from Napa or Sonoma, its bitter grind the only juxtaposition of considerable concentration. Warm weather highlights the mouth-feel, but it is neither hot or stupidly syruped, though cloying aspects DO invade the palate. The middle thins out beautifully: a grating, chalky dryness calming all chubby concentration. Tannins soft-to-negligible, this is a restaurant and BTG winner, checking off marketing boxes with aplomb. Beautiful price-point as well, plus none of the SY of Zin additions many slump to in proprietary blends of this nature. Chubbiness of nose and entry nod to the AVA, along with bland glycerin-y vagueness of finish tainted in bitter loveliness.
I’m being too hard on this wine… it’s quite a brilliant bottle for the cost and contents. But that’s what I do. I have tasted FARRRRRRR worse Paso cabs for three TIMES the price. If you see this on a menu, GRAB IT. You’re going to go away happy. I guarantee it.
2018 DONATI FAMILY VINEYARD ‘Claret’ Cab/ME/Bec/PV/CF Paso Robles 13.8