This is an astonishing Bordeaux-style wine from the Napa Valley. Supple and lush with loads of ripe fruit and undertones of leather and tobacco, it's half-French, half- California in style. White Rock Vineyards was established as early as 1870 and brought back in the late '70s by the Vandendriessche family. Made from a classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot, the 2004 Claret is a splendid wine for the price.
Break out this bottle for a grilled steak or chop, a coq au vin or red wine-braised stew.
-- S. Irene Virbila Region: Rhone
Price: From $33 to $39.
Style: Supple and lush.
What it goes with: steaks, chops, coq au vin, stews.
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitime; Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (323) 655-5557, www; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, www.mission; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine; and Wine Lab Newport in Newport Beach, (949) 515-8466, www.winelab. And also directly from the winery at (707) 257-7922, www.whiterock.