Clarissa Vin Rouge

An admirer of the wines of Château Haut-Brion, Bill wanted to make a wine in that style simply to drink and enjoy. Named Clarissa his wife Dawn's middle name and the name of her maternal Grandmother, this Bordeaux blend is wonderful alone or will enhance the flavors in a wide variety of different foods.


Williamson Clarissa Vin Rouge ®

There is aromatic purity and depth here, expressive of our estate fruit which in this case is Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. On the palate the wine has rich substance and while rather soft and caressing, it shows wonderful character, freshness and acidity. It has a very bright finish, and great length.


About Clarissa Vin Rouge ®

Using steak as a metaphor to describe the power scale of food and wine, Merlot equates to Filet Mignon, Cabernet Franc to Skirt Steak, Cabernet Sauvignon to New York or T-Bone and Malbec to Rib-Eye.

In the center of this scale is a middle ground with foods too soft for Cabernet Sauvignon and too complex or robust for Merlot. We needed to create a wine especially for these foods of which there were four categories, namely:

  • Allure MERITAGE - Foods with soft texture, soft, complex flavors and a low spice level
  • Clarissa VIN ROUGE - Foods with hard texture, soft flavor or soft texture, hard flavors and a medium spice level
  • Entice CUVÉE - Foods with either hard or soft texture, hard flavors and a high spice level
  • Ravish MÉLANGE - Foods with soft texture with hard flavors and a medium spice level

Foods like Spaghetti alla puttanesca with a soft texture, soft, complex flavors and a medium spice level or roast chicken with hard texture, soft, flavor and a low spice level are too hearty or complex for Merlot yet too soft for Cabernet. These foods need a medium weight yet complex wine so we created Clarissa Vin Rouge.


Pairing Food with Clarissa Vin Rouge ®

Clarissa shows ripe cherry on the nose with a touch of floral notes in the center pallet and a slightly tart finish. It will work best paired with foods having the following characteristics.

  • Texture – Hard or Soft
  • Flavor - hard or soft
  • Spice – Low to medium spice content
  • Loves – Kalamata Olives

Originally designed to drink without food this wine nevertheless is excellent paired with straightforward, new world cuisine; foods such as prime rib roast, hamburger, pot roast, dense white fish like halibut and white meats, like chicken or pork, all served with their own juices.

That being said, Clarissa will work perfectly with a charcuterie plate of cold meats like sausage or salami, cheeses, pâté, kalamatta olives and various condiments such as Garam Masala Stoneground Mustard, Balsamic, Garlic & Herb Jam, Smokey Onion Mustard and Sweet Beet & Horseradish Mustard, all available from our Gourmet Foods selection.


Background of Clarissa Vin Rouge ®

Our third Bordeaux blend was to be called Claret, a word used to describe a Bordeaux blend designed for the English pallet.

Unfortunately, however, the word “Claret” cannot be used for wines made outside of Bordeaux, France without infringing on that region's protected appellation.

This is further complicated by the U.S. government’s requirement to carry the the words “Red Wine” on the label.

This seemed needlessly complicated for us so our solution was simply to call our Bordeaux-style Claret, Vin Rouge literally “red wine” in French.