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The 2016 Matthews Claret was crafted from several vineyards in Washington State located in the Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, and Walla Walla Valley appellations. Each vineyard uses sustainable farming methods. The vineyards were hand-harvested early in the morning between September - October 2016. Upon arriving in the winery, each vineyard lot was hand-sorted, de-stemmed and fermented in small concrete and stainless-steel. The wine was cellared in French oak (45% new) for 20 months, evaluated over 40 times by our winemaking team, and finally blended together in July 2018. Only 102 barrels were used in creating the 2016 Claret.

Tasting Notes

This Claret is denser and richer than the 2015, owing it mainly to our higher anthocyanin levels, but without the overripe notes typically associated with such heat as later in the year cooled down slightly to allow the wines to retain good freshness.Smoked black currants, strawberry, plum skin and a hint of vanilla bean. Swirling brings up dark spice, blackberry and sandalwood. The palate is dense and ripe with great texture, sweet muddled black fruits, super fine tannins, some savory spice and a fresh lifted finish.

Food Pairing Recommendations

Rillettes with cornichons on rustic bread

Varietal Composition

45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec



Cases Produced




Awards & Accolades

"The 2016 Claret is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 1 % Malbec that was brought up in 45% new French oak. It has good amounts of cherry and currant fruits as well as notes of spice, cedar, and white flowers, medium body, no hard edges, and incredible charm and texture. It's already drinking nicely but I suspect it will keep for 7-8 years, if not longer."

90 points, Jeb. Dunnuck,

"A rich and fragrant nose with ripe berries and rosehips, leading to a palate that has a fresh and lithe array of boldly juicy fruit that holds good balance and depth. A blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 17% cabernet franc, 5% petit verdot and 1% malbec. Ready now."

90 points, James Suckling,

"Polished and elegantly layered, with expressive black cherry, toasty spice and cedar accents that build toward refined tannins."

90 points, Tim Fish, Wine Spectator

"In this blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec, bittersweet chocolate, dark cherry, coffee and fresh and dried herb aromas are followed by elegantly styled raspberry, coffee and cherry flavors. It's a very pretty wine, with a pleasing lip-smacking quality. Give it some additional bottle time to see it at its best."

90 points, Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

"Bright, saturated ruby-red. Ripe but not overripe aromas of blueberry, blackberry, licorice and spices, plus a whiff of dark chocolate. Suave, dry and classic, with its dark berry and spice flavors showing terrific inner-mouth aromatic lift. More complex than either the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot bottlings and a step up in tannic spine and definition. This wine was essentially made from the same raw materials that went into the two varietal bottlings but comes across as denser and more complete. Finishes with smooth tannins and excellent length."

91 points, Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

"A Claret-style blend, this contains 45 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 32 percent Merlot, the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. It’s well-oaked, and yet some of the Valley’s savory markers show through, like the notes of cedar, tobacco leaf and sundried tomato. It’s generous in flavor, yet the wine’s lively acidity and savory sandalwood grip of tannins makes it feel light and lean."

92 points, Patrick J. Comiskey, Wine & Spirits


Red Mountain

Map Red Mountain 3 2
2,382 acres (963 hectares)
Top Varieties
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc
Average Annual Precipitation
5 inches
Silt, sand, volcanic basalt
Average vine age
Learn More

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