Janet and I loved this wine at a charity tasting four years ago. Time has not helped it, or perhaps it's just in a dumb stage. Deep red color; deep hue, intense aroma of cherries and chocolate; very little fruit taste, with no development over two hours in the glass; harsh tannins, very distinct acidity, medium mouth feel, long, unpleasant finish. Two thirds of the bottle down the drain -- I usually would have left it out for a day or two, but I was so disappointed I felt it didn't deserve a second chance. 1*
Foley wrote about this wine: "The 1999 vintage was late in the mountain vineyards. Thankfully, Mother Nature blessed us with beautiful ripening weather in October and early November to bring the claret grape varieties to the stage of true ripeness where dark fruit flavors and aromas evolve. Our 1999 Claret blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot displays the characteristics of black cherries, dark chocolate, and cassis. Round and rich on the mid-palate, soft tannins come forward and resolve in a lingering finish betraying the Cabernet contribution to the blend. Long-term bottle aging potential is a certainty with the healthy natural acidity."
I don't know -- he says his Claret will be good at any stage -- certainly it was a delight four years ago. He writes: "When to drink the wine? Always a slippery question! This is entirely up to the consumer. I balance these wines so that they may be enjoyed in their juicy and vibrant youth, yet they will certainly improve in the bottle for 10 to 30 years. At all stages of development, the intensity of character and the purity of fruit are overwhelming."
Perhaps just an off bottle.