I've recently reviewed a wine made by the golfer Ernie Els, and today it's time for a Napa red by way of the current World Number One, Luke Donald. Originally from England, Donald entered into a partnership with Terlato in Napa and released his first claret-style wine in 2008. The first Chardonnay came out the following year.
Thanks to the TTB, you're not going to see many American wines labeled as Claret in the future... It's still possible to use names like Burgundy and Champagne if you're grandfathered in, but this particular name restriction has always bugged me since A) it's a fairly generic term and B) the French don't really use it to market Bordeaux.
2009 Luke Donald Claret
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
$40, 13.8% abv.
933 Cases Made
Rich and deep, with black plum, chocolate, leather, and a hint of white pepper. Balanced dark fruit flavors that don't overwhelm the palate. The medium tannins smoothed out with about a half hour in the decanter. It was outstanding with a dinner of grilled steak and asparagus.
Note: This wine was received as a sample.