Claret’s history can be traced to the Aquitaine, a primeval French kingdom stretching from Atlantic banks to the Dordogne and from the mouth of the Gironde in the north to the Atlantic Pyrenees in the south. A large area famously portrayed in the stage play The Lion in Winter, its stars were an actual young couple, Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband, King Henry II of England. This embattled pair’s union created such a stir in the hillsides of England that commoners and royalty alike gained a taste for the wine served in the French courts, a rosé-like red that became known locally as Claret. Imported across British channel, its popularity grew until wars erupted between the countries, leading the British to seek comfort in a new beverage called Port.
Today’s clarets have taken on a new hue, though. Owing to advances in winemaking that allow the Bordeaux varietals with which they are made to give more color to the drink, tones run from true claret to deep purple. The claret tried today was Coppola’s Claret, a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with contributions of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and a drop of Merlot. The nose expresses black cherry and wet soil, while the flavor provides ample tannin and fruit finishing with bright red cherry. Perfect table wine for those who prefer their beverage to be less fussy, it is an easy drinking wine that is equally friendly with food.