Perhaps it's not surprising that winemakers in an iconoclastic state like California would take liberties with claret, the English name for red Bordeaux. While some wineries, like Newton and Francis Coppola, follow the classic French model for this Cabernet- and Merlot-heavy blend, others are using the name more irreverently. St. Francis's debut 2001 claret, for instance, includes the unorthodox addition of Zinfandel. Bob Foley of Robert Foley Vineyards takes the tongue-in-cheek approach: "My last vintages have been almost 100 percent Cab," he says, "but it's more fun calling them claret."
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