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The 2021 Matthews Columbia Valley Claret is comprised of several small vineyard parcels within the greater Columbia Valley, with key vineyard sites in Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain, and Royal Slope AVA’s as well as the famed Conner Lee vineyard. This wine truly represents the broad flavor and aromatic expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon from the diverse terroirs of Washington State. The new winemaking team worked with our vineyard managers to update our viticultural practices, reducing yields (on average) by 30% for each site. These restricted yields created small, concentrated berries. Further vineyard dedication meant we were able to harvest between 3-6 weeks later than previous vintages. This allowed each site to fully develop the proper ripeness and flavor profile we were looking for.

Each vineyard was hand-harvested in the early mornings between late September & early October, cultivating on October 28th for our last pick. Upon arriving at the winery, each vineyard parcel was hand-sorted, de-stemmed, and berry-sorted. The grapes were placed in tank and cold soaked for 2 days, before undergoing a 14 day fermentation and an additional 14 days of extended maceration, resulting in 32+ days on skins for maximum extraction and integrated tannins. The wine was cellared for 19 months in new French oak (27%) and used French oak (73%). In the spring of 2022, we selected 201 barrels to be carefully selected and blended. The wine was bottled in June, producing only 5083 cases.

Twenty-two separate clones were included in the final blend (Cabernet Sauvignon: 2, 4, 6, 8, 15, 21, 31, 169, 191, 337, 338 Merlot: 2, 3, 6, 15, 18, 181 Cabernet Franc: 1, 214, 327 Malbec: 4 Petit Verdot: 1).

Tasting Notes

The 2021 Columbia Valley Claret is an inky deep garnet in the glass with a rich magenta rim. Powerful aromas of juicy black raspberry, fresh fig, ginger spice, and cigar wrapper lead to decadent flavors of bourbon cherries, violets, blackberry pie, and allspice. The full-bodied mouthfeel is unctuous with broad velvety tannins. Graphite and ripe berry reduction remain on the dense, textural, and persistent finish.

Varietal Composition

34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot



Cases Produced



Now - 2035

Awards & Accolades

"My favorite of the “base” wines from Matthews, the 2021 Claret is a lovely combo of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot that spent 19 months in 27% new French oak. An inviting dark ruby-purple core with a light purple rim in the glass, it sports a bouquet of dried blueberries, blackberries, mountain sage, tobacco leaf, dried rose, sweet cinnamon, cassis, and plum skin. Lush tannins, perfect acidity, and a medium-bodied mouthfeel complete the wine. 5083 cases produced."

-94 points, Jeremy Young, International Wine Report

"Every bit outstanding the 2021 Claret combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot with smaller parts Malbec and Petit Verdot. Chocolate and espresso grounds mark the nose alongside shades of huckleberry and dried herbs. The palate is soft and well-balanced with a smooth texture. Showing salty and earthy undertones, this is a fantastic showing that displays each varietal working in seamless motion. Drink 2023-2033."

-94 points, Owen Bargreen,

"A handsome blend that's generous and structured, with dynamic black cherry and plum flavors highlighted by green tea and toasted spice flavors, finishing with polished tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2031. 5,083 cases made."

-93 points, Tim Fish, Wine Spectator

"The 2021 Claret Columbia Valley, a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 29% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot, is dark and floral, with a black raspberry core embellished by sweet herbs and hints of dark chocolate. It washes across the palate with a lifted and feminine feel, showing sleek red berry fruits elevated by rosy inner florals. Classically dry, this tapers off with medium length, leaving hints of licorice and traces of grippy tannin. The Claret has a very approachable character yet remains wonderfully complex."

-92 points, Eric Guido, Vinous Media

"A Cabernet dominant blend of all five Bordeaux varietals. This wine's wild anise savoury notes drive forward the aromatics, followed by ripe fruits and a touch of frankincense. There is a linear element to the fruit that cuts through the ripe, fleshy palate. It comes together with notes of dried thyme, white peppercorn, and dollops of red and black berries. There is an undeniable ripeness with a crunchy fruit character that brings it home."

-94 points, Clive Pursehouse, Decanter


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