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Flat front label of wine

Robert Foley Vineyards Claret 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP96
  • WE96
  • WS95
0% ABV
  • RP96
  • WS94
  • RP94
  • RP95
  • WS91
  • RP95
  • RP99
  • WS96
  • WS93
  • RP93
  • RP94
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The top wine here is the classic 2003 Claret, a gorgeously proportioned, opaque purple-colored effort boasting a big, sweet nose of smoky meats, creme de cassis, coffee, and dark plums. Dense and opulent, with superb concentration, full body, high glycerin, decent acidity, and ripe tannin, this a superb mouthful of wine that can be approached now or cellared for 12-15 years.
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
Nearly 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this firm young wine showcases Napa Cab at its best. It’s powerful in cassis and mocha flavors, with complex spice notes. The considerable new oak fits in fine given the wine’s size. Extraordinarily smooth and lush, it’s beautiful now, but has the structure to age for a decade. What a beauty.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
Remarkably rich, supple and harmonious, with a generous array of spicy currant, blackberry, exotic spice and hazelnut with hints of mocha and chocolate. For all its richness and complexity, this is a delightful wine to drink both now and through the next decade.
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Robert Foley Vineyards

Robert Foley Vineyards

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Robert Foley Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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Robert Foley Vineyards in Napa Valley is a small family owned and operated winery headed by winemaker, Bob Foley. Bob has been a winemaker for over 30 years, and produces wines from many varietals, including the lesser known favorite, Charbono. Bob is known for making deep, dark wines with remarkable depth and complexity.

Foley Vineyards' new cave and wine facility finished recently on Howell Mountain.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

LSB116983_2003 Item# 116983