AskDefine | Define claret

Dictionary Definition



1 a dark purplish red
2 dry red Bordeaux or Bordeaux-like wine [syn: red Bordeaux] v : drink claret; "They were clareting until well past midnight"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A dry red wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France, or a similar wine made elsewhere.
  2. A deep purplish-red colour, like that of the wine.
    claret colour:   



  1. Of a deep purplish-red colour, like that of claret.

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Extensive Definition

Claret is a name used in English, primarily in Britain, for red wine from the Bordeaux region of France.


The term claret is most common in the United Kingdom. People from other English-speaking countries (including the United States) usually call it "red Bordeaux" or just "Bordeaux".
It has been coined from the clairet, a now uncommon dark rosé which was the most common style of wine exported from Bordeaux until the 18th century. Claret is a protected name within the European Union for describing a red Bordeaux wine; it was accepted after the British wine trade demonstrated over 300 years' usage of the word.
The name Claret is occasionally used in the United States as a semi-generic label for any red wine in a style similar to that of Bordeaux. However, the usual practice today is to label wines by the grape variety or varieties from which they are made.
The French themselves do not use the term Claret, except for export purposes.
Usage has expanded to include the colour which resembles the red hue of this wine. It has also become a slang word for blood. An old English expression for giving someone a bloody nose is "Tapping the Claret".


Claret is frequently mispronounced as /klæ'ɹeɪ/ as it is believed to be a French word. Although it is originally from the French word clairet (English translation is 'pale') the word claret is an English invention and thus is traditionally pronounced according to English orthography rules as /klæ'ɹɛt/. The mispronunciation is a form of hypercorrection.


The Plantagenet kingdom, covering England and much of France from 1152 to 1453, encouraged wine trade and the development of English taste for this wine, adopting the French word clairet to describe it.
In the Late Middle Ages, a claret was a spiced wine-based drink produced by pouring wine, usually a red, over a bag containing a mix of spices. It was similar, and often identical, to hypocras. Spices that were specific to medieval clarets include anise, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon and fennel. The term now more frequently applies to unspiced red Bordeaux wine.
It must be noted that the standard style of Bordeaux wine has not always been deep red. It used to be more of a rosé wine, hence the name: claret (English) coming from clairet (french), meaning pale. The meaning of "claret" has changed over time to refer to a dry, dark red Bordeaux.


claret in German: Bordeaux (Weinbaugebiet)
claret in French: Vignoble de Bordeaux
claret in Italian: Bordeaux (vino)
claret in Luxembourgish: Bordeaux (Wäibauregioun)
claret in Dutch: Bordeaux (wijnstreek)
claret in Japanese: ボルドーワイン
claret in Swedish: Bordeauxviner
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