2004 Cliff Creek Claret

South Oregon, OR
48% Cab 37% Cab Franc 15% Merlot
14.1% alc.
$5 at Renton, WA

Nice complex nose of anise, leather, spice. Dark fruit, blackberry on the palate with a little toffee. This is nicely aged Bordeaux styled wine still holding up well for $5. The Cab Franc really shows. You owe it to yourself to give this wine a try if you see it around.  Some drying tea like tannins in the finish but really good structure.  I had it with barbecued pork tenderloin and it was very good, but crack this open and have it with a steak and it will sing. It is a food wine and thumbs up for sure, drink now.

The winemaker is Joe Dobbes, a long time Oregon winemaker now known for  Dobbes Family and Wines by Joe.  The vineyards are from high elevation in the Rogue Valley outside of Medford.  Good pedigree and it shows.

Update: Lim13 reviewed the 2005 Cliff Creek Syrah here.

28 thoughts on “2004 Cliff Creek Claret

  1. BargainWhine

    The bottle of the 2005 Claret I opened tonight, bought last weekend at the San Pablo, CA, store seemed over the hill. There was a little off at first, and even with over three hours of air, after the flavors darkened and smoothed as you’d expect, the out of balance acid never went away.

  2. Janet Reed

    We tried the 2004 and 2005 clarets and the 2005 syrah this weekend. Consensus of the gang of six who tasted was unanimous–we liked the 2005 over the 2004. Not as austere, better balance. Still a fair amount of tannic grip and it is definitely a food wine, not a sipper. But we were amazed at the 2005 syrah. Huge, dark fruits and leather–it’s hard to believe that it is seven years old. It must have been a brute in its youth. Once we’d all tasted all three, the bottle of syrah was drained first. And even while we were filling our glasses with the claret once the syrah was gone, the talk was of the syrah. If you see this, buy it–you won’t regret it.

        1. BargainWhine

          Yesterday, the Berkeley store still had a bit the 2005 Syrah. Robaire is promoting it heavily so it may not last long. I got a bottle to see what the controversy is about, but there appears to be a bit of fine sediment, so I will wait a while for it to settle.

          1. vinvino

            Portland metro stores: Milwaukie has both ’05 Syrah/’04 Claret and Ore City had a small amt of the ’04 Claret $5/each. I picked up a few bottles of each, still haven’t tasted

      1. lim13

        Opened my first bottle of the 2004 Claret this evening with some hard goat Gouda. My notes: Clear medium garnet with no obvious signs of nearly 12 years of age; earth, some cherry, tar and leather in the nose; in the mouth there’s more of the same along with dark berry, some of the toffee that bin5 mentioned, great acidity and still big, chewy, mouth-coating tannins. If the fruit holds up (and I concur that there isn’t as much as I’d like), this may well last another 5-6 years or more. By the way, there was some really strange looking sediment in this bottle…like the contents of a lava lamp…bizarre!

  3. JWC

    I have to agree on wanting more fruit, especially when comparing it with the rich red blends from Washington state, that are all over town. But for $5 bones, pretty decent wine.

  4. RockRat

    We just tasted the Syrah tonight. Must have different palates: neither of us thought it was a buy. After spending our budget on other stuff, noticed a bottle of claret on top of the safe, where the local GO owner sometimes puts wines that aren’t fully on the floor yet. Given the good reviews here, perhaps we’ll try that in spite of their syrah.

  5. bin5 Post author

    The GO flyer in the paper (WA) is advertising the 05 Syrah for $3.99. So, hopefully there should be some out there, I need to go give it a try.

  6. TimG

    I like both the Claret and the Syrah. They have them in Seattle (nearly gone) on Aurora Ave N. The Syrah for $3.99 was especially a bargain.

  7. lim13

    Another one I’d like to try (as well as the Syrah), but haven’t seen any Cliff Creek on this side of the Sound yet. Also…I’m sure it was likely just a transposition of letters, but I believe it’s Rogue (rather than Rouge) Valley, as in the river.

  8. seedboy

    I’ve tried a couple of bottles of this wine. It is nicely structured. Can I admit I’d like just a bit more fruit? If you find the syrah, it is better, reminds me of a good St Joseph.
    It needs air.

    1. JWC

      Have not seen this in Portland yet, have seen the ’09 Red Red Wine, for $3.99 at the Hillsboro GO, but did not purchase.


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