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Clairet: BTG-Worthy

Sometimes a red is too much, and a rosé is too little.  That’s when it’s time for a glass of clairet. Here are 9 things you might want to know about it.

1. “Clairet” is not the same as “claret,” but the two are similar in origin.  Beaucoup years ago, Bordeaux was a wimpy red (why do you think they needed wine from the Rhone or Algeria?), but the English still loved it because it was liquid, and it contained alcohol.  They bastardized the French word for clear, spelled it c-l-a-r-e-t and pronounced it “CLARE-utt.”

2. Some people in Bordeaux continued to make a ruby-colored wine that was transparent, mainly for their own use, spelled it with an “i” – clairet – and pronounced it “CLARE-a.”

3. Clairet is staging a comeback because it tastes good and fits a need.  It’s more versatile with food than a rosé – more flavors, a touch of tannin – but it’s not as heavy as a red. It goes great with hamburgers, barbecue, roast meats and most junk food served at the bar.

4. Clairet spends more time on the skins than rosé, which gives it more body, depth of flavor and color.  Think of ruby as the new salmon-colored.

5. Most clairet is produced in Entre-Deux-Mers, although some is made in Right Bank hill country.

6. There is some clairet being imported into the U.S.  There will be more of it imported if you just give it a try.

7. Clairet can be served at room temperature, but it’s probably better chilled.

8. It generally cost less than $20 a bottle retail.

9. Clairet goes great with Millennials.  It’s something most haven’t tried, although they are familiar with its grapes – mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Now, did I make all that perfectly clairet?

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