92 Insider Points
The 2011 Claret from Basel Cellars is a fresh and lively wine bursting with black cherry, cassis and spice, with a vibrant acidity and smooth fine grain tannin. While not the most powerful Red Blend you’ll try, there is plenty of complexity and layer of tobacco and cedar develop as the wine breathes. Enjoy now through 2022. - DZ Dec 2016
Columbia Valley, Washington
45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, 6% Merlot
$0 SHIPPING Selection (6+/btls)
Columbia Valley reds have proved they can compete with CA’s best and this particular high quality Bordeaux blend knocks it out of the park showcasing an impressive structure alongside genuine expressions of its four varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.
The Basel label is no stranger to critical praise. The 2010 vintage earned a Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and Wine Enthusiast awarded 2011 90 points highlighting that “the palate offers elegantly styled dark-fruit flavors with toasty accents. It's a very pretty expression of the vintage.” Elegantly delicious!
Reasons why we love it
2011 is particularly special for the Basel Cellars Claret. The winery’s flagship wine - the Merriment that is quite incredible and always sells out - didn’t get produced in 2011. That meant the top tier juice usually reserved for the high end red became available to the Claret. The result is one of the year’s very best Bordeaux-style blends now accessible at an incredible everyday drinking price.
This vintage was crafted by Winemaker Ned Morris, a man who has been fondly referred to as a Batman look alike and has the Northwest in his blood as he comes from an old-school Walla Walla family. His winemaking venture includes a wine education from Penfolds Magill Estate when John Duval was there, a Master’s from Oregon State and John Abbott's assistant winemaker at Abeja. He has quite a resume and since he has moved on to other endeavours, this could be one of your last chances to get your hands on one of his Basel Cellars masterpieces.
Ned specifically makes his wines to go with food and this vintage is true to his signature. Our Tasting Panel took to this Cab-heavy blend with ease enjoying rich flavors and an unmistakeable Northwestern charm. And if you need another reason to love it, Wine Press Northwest listed this vintage as an Excellent Red Blend in their under $30 tasting calling it a “sturdy wine.”
This exciting Bordeaux blend from 2011 was crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot. Every lot was carefully fermented and aged in neutral oak to showcase the true expression of every varietal. The vibrant bouquet shows hints of ripe cherry, cedar, perfume and pencil shavings. Ripe red berry fruits integrate well with soft toasty oak on the palate, with smooth tannins and good acidity framing the structure of our Claret. The mouth feel is round and viscous and bright fruit lingers between layers of sweet oak to ensure a long and balanced finish. It is a great food wine and dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, roasted duck with plum sauce, barbequed ribs and pulled pork sandwiches will compliment this blend well.
Basel Cellars Estate Winery had its beginnings in 2002. When the opportunity presented itself, local grape grower Greg Basel purchased the Estate House and the surrounding 85 acre Double River Ranch. He saw in this site two vital components to creating an estate winery. The first: nature. The rich soil and the hilltop position between Yellowhawk Creek and the Walla Walla River made for the perfect vineyard site.
Try it alonside some of the winemaker's selections; Grilled Steak, Roasted Duck, or Coq Au Vin.