Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What is the difference between a claret and Cabernet or, for that matter, Merlot? Is it that it is less dry? What other red wine does claret most closely resemble?
—Iva, Salt Lake City
Today the word "claret" is associated with the red wines of Bordeaux (which are based on Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, usually), but it's really just a descriptive term for red-hued wine. British wine lovers embraced the term (as did some authors and poets), and eventually it became synonymous with wines made in the Bordeaux style.
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