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Dec 2, 2012 04:21 PM

Looking for a white claret

Years ago we went to a wine tasting and had the most wonderful claret. We bought a case and drank it all that summer - we did share with friends. The wine was especially good with grilled meats. Now I can't remember the name of the wine company, so I browsed several spirit stores to no avail. I finally asked and the employee seemed to think I was mistaken. There are no white clarets. I know the bottle said claret. So in an effort to find this luscious wine again, I'm turning to the foodies on Chow.

Briefly here's what I recall:
the wine was a soft pinkish color
the label said claret
it was french
there was a picture of a chateau on the label

Can anyone help???

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  1. What country were you in, please?

    1 Reply
    1. Did you do an online search? I did a google search for "white claret" and this one wine exclusively came up. Are you sure it was French?

      Benziger Imagery Series White Claret

      1 Reply
      1. re: thegforceny

        I'm pretty certain it was. I looked it up online years ago, but couldn't track down an importer and the wine shop that had it went out of business soon after.

      2. "Claret" is a term, often applied to Bordeaux (reds in this case), in the UK.

        That said, if one applied the term very loosely, then it could have been a white wine from Bordeaux, which would have been a Sauvignon Blanc. However, I cannot think of any (I obviously do not know them all), that would be adequate to stand up to grilled meats. The only French whites, that come to my mind, and it can be a bit of a stretch, even here, would be some of the whites from the Northern Rhône, such as maybe a robust Hermitage Blanc.

        It would be atypical for any French wine to be labeled as "Claret," as that term originates in the UK, though is now more universally applied. See this Wikipedia entry:

        For why the term "Claret" is applied to red Bdx., perhaps look at this dictionary entry:

        By definition, "claret" means dark, purple/red.

        Now, there are some Rosé wines, that have much more body, than their appearance might belie, like a Gigondas, that I have. It is light-pinkish/salmon, BUT has great body, and would definitely stand up to grilled meat, BUT it is from the Rhône, and not Bdx., so even in the UK, the term "Claret" would ;be alien.

        Also, there are not many Bdx. wines, produced as a Rosé. At least not that I can think of.

        Good luck,


        7 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Actually the word claret originally meant "clear". It was applied to red wine from Bordeaux - which I guess you'd say was a clear red color. The meaning of the word claret as a red color came after the word was applied to the wine. Trust me. I'm a Brit.

          1. re: kagemusha49

            Interesting. After having looked at a half-dozen wine books (3 by British authors), the Encyclopedia Britannica, and then several dictionaries, I cannot find any reference to "clear." Can you possible cite your reference, and especially how it applies to wines?

            Just curious,


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Well quite apart from the obvious similiarity to French words (Claire), you might care to read the entire text of the dictionary link you posted.

              1. re: kagemusha49

                I don't know . . I was always taught -- by Brits, by the French, by Americans -- that the English word "Claret" was not from the word "claire" but rather from the OLD French word "clairet" meaning "light red." See Robert Lauriston's post below . . .

                1. re: zin1953

                  Claire, clairet - they have the same Latin root CLARUM - meaning light or bright (or clear). When you say that the origin comes from clairet I agree that claret is a corruption of clairet but the word still meant clear in Old French before it was hijacked to refer to red wine from Bordeaux.

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            tons of Bordeaux rosés (and from nearby Bergerac, which also was a prime producer of claret, IIRC) -- but I don't think they're exported much.

            (and none from the premiere houses -- but then I drink cheap rosés in the summer, anyway) :D

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              It would be atypical for any French wine to be labeled as "Claret,"

              The French are proposing using the term 'Claret' as a marketing brand --see

              Bordeaux wines (not any French wine) are labelled as 'claret' for the UK market but are the cheapest generic Bdx. But the word claret is in general use for red Bdx.

            2. That was probably Bordeaux Clairet, which is an AOC for light red / dark rosé wines made from the same grapes as red Bordeaux.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Ah, that IS a possibility. I had never considered it.

                Perhaps a great call Robert.


              2. I've *never* heard of a white Bordeaux being referred to as "claret." I agree with Robert's post below -- ESPECIALLY if you describe the wine as "soft pinkish" in color. It wasn't white, but rather a vin gris or a light rosé -- thus, Clairet (with an "i").