A Proper Claret 2014 is an oddity in the house of Doon, described by the winemaker as "lean, neither overly alcoholic … nor overly extracted, nor overly oaked." Grahm figures if you gotta drink a Cab, drink this one.
The blend of grape varieties sorts out this way: 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petit Verdot, 22% Tannat, 9% Syrah, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petite Sirah. I think the healthy shot of Tannat is what made this Cab blend slip in with Mr. Grahm's somewhat grudging blessing. It carries alcohol lightly, 13.2% abv, and retails for a similarly light 16 bucks.
The cross-dressing bookworm on the label is a Bascove creation, one that Grahm's veddy, veddy Proper alter-ego considers a "tasteless monstrosity." Nonetheless, it's there on the bottle.
Bonny Doon wines always carry a note of sophisticated savoriness, unlike any Brand X you may care to compare. A Proper Claret 2014 adds a violet sense to the nose, possibly as a result of the healthy drop of Petit Verdot. Blackberry and leather aromas also decorate the scene. On the palate, APC shows a Pinotesque restraint and even a little tartness reminiscent of Pinot Noir. Savory cuts a wide swath through the abundant dark fruit, with black olives, dried tomatoes and smoked meat making appearances. The finish is rather long and the savory stuff stays longest.
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