Subscribe for 99¢

The term claret, a British nickname for red Bordeaux wines, is sometimes found on American wine labels. Because there is no legal definition of the term, a wine can be called claret without being restricted to the red grapes allowed in Bordeaux wines. Most likely, a domestic wine labeled as claret will contain cabernet sauvignon as well as some of the following Bordeaux grapes: cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot and malbec. Although the two California clarets described below are different styles, they would both go well with beef, lamb and heartier fare.

Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection 2013 Black Label Claret Cabernet Sauvignon from California

Bought • Sam’s Club Maplewood in August for $13.58Description • This striking black bottle encased in gold netting is probably the most recognized California claret in the United States. Aged in oak for 12 months, it’s a blend of 76 percent cabernet sauvignon, 19 percent petit verdot, 3 percent merlot and 2 percent cabernet franc. This is a soft, fruity, easy-to-drink medium-bodied red that tastes of cherries, raspberries and plums with a touch of vanilla.Bonny Doon 2013 A Proper Claret from CaliforniaBought • Whole Foods, 1601 South Brentwood Boulevard, in August for $14.99Description • Although the whimsical label pokes fun at claret’s posh-sounding name, this is a serious wine. A blend of 46 percent cabernet sauvignon, 17 percent merlot and 13 percent petit verdot, it also contains tannat, syrah and petite sirah, which are not permitted grapes in Bordeaux wines. Bigger, drier and more complex than the Coppola claret, this aromatic, robust wine has good acidity and structure.

Follow Gail on Twitter @GailAppleson.