What is Claret

on December 1, 2009

Q. What is claret?

A. Centuries ago, the British began describing the red wines of Bordeaux as “clarets” based on the French term clairet, which refers to a very light style of red wine. Because Bordeaux reds were in fact much lighter back then than they are today, the meaning of the term was quite appropriate for the wine. These days of course, the predominant style of red Bordeaux is anything but light. Yet among legions of aficionados, the name claret has stubbornly stuck.

What many wine lovers don’t know, however, is that within the Bordeaux region the old style still maintains a small, but loyal, following. A scant few producers continue to make a traditional, light, ruby-hued wine—almost a cross between a rosé and a red—marketed under the official designation, Bordeaux Clairet.

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