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2007 Newton Claret 

Napa, California / $18-$25 Retail

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The English call Bordeaux wines clarets, recalling an era when the wines were lighter in style and somewhat "clear." The definition no longer applies to the dark cherry-colored wines coming from that region but the term remains. Newton created a somewhat traditional Bordeaux blend, primarily Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon from the northwestern, higher-elevation reaches of Napa. Four of the five usual Bordeaux grapes are here, plus a splash of Syrah. Deep garnet colored, the wine offers black cherries on the nose, playfully teasing with spices and a touch of smokiness. It hits the tongue with cassis, blueberry, black plum, black and red currants and a dash of white pepper. Decant for best results. Drink it with rare beef, roast game, veal chops and firm cheeses. Buy it at: The Wine Seller, Dorignac's, Elio's Wine Warehouse, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket and Saia's Meat Market. Drink it at: Maximo's, La Cote Brasserie, Pelican Club, Mr. B's and the Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Lounge. — Brenda Maitland

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