Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can a Bordeaux blend of 80 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc be regarded as a “claret”?
—Harry H., Ireland
Sure. “Claret” doesn’t have a formal definition beyond "Bordeaux-style red wine." The term originated in the U.K. in the 18th century, used to refer to the red wines of Bordeaux, and both Merlot and Cabernet Franc are among the traditional grapes used in red Bordeaux blends (along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot).
It’s strange to me that the term “claret” is still around. Its usage peaked around 1860, but it recently seems to have had a bit of a resurgence.