2014 Blacksmith Cellars "C.L.R.T." Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Blacksmith Cellars is a 1,500 case winery that rests upon the vision, dedication and hard work of one man, Matt Smith. Passionate about both the science and art of wine, he approaches his craft in ways that seem simultaneously systematic and inspired. He makes his wines in a warehouse located on the grounds of the former Naval Air Station in Alameda - across the bay from San Francisco. Because he doesn’t own a patch of vineyard, he’ll make wine from whatever comes through his network of growers - or even the spot market. As a result, he’s sourced grapes from Mendocino, Alexander Valley, Oakville, Stags’ Leap, Lodi, and Monterey and has worked with a range of varieties - from the well-known (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache) to the underrated  (Barbera, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc) to the obscure (Torrontes, Malvasia Blanca, Verdelho). Originally from Virginia, Smith was studying Chemistry at Sonoma State University in the early 19990s when he was hit by the winemaking bug. A stint at Beaulieu Vineyards was followed by an enology degree at Fresno State and then being hired as assistant winemaker to Sam Dashe, a fellow “urban winemaker” who became an important mentor. Smith struck out on his own in 2004 with an Alexander Valley Cabernet. With that first wine, Sam established his method of doing all the jobs himself: tending the vines, picking, sorting, crushing, pressing, punching down, blending and bottling. From the start, Blacksmith Cellars has received critical accolades and plenty of fans, but the need to maintain control of his process and vision has restrained any temptation to grow the winery to beyond what Smith can do solo. Happily for us, he has also resisted the temptation to raise prices. From Blacksmith Cellars we can get an artisan product - delicious, well-made wine from top appellations at an affordable price.


Sourced entirely from a vineyard at the western edge of the Oakville AVA, where even the appellation wines can start at 100 dollars, Blacksmith’s C.L.R.T. (claret)  takes “value” to a whole other level! A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, C.L.R.T. is a seductive wine with everything you expect from an Oakville Cab: deep black cherry, blackberry cassis, dark chocolate and vanilla notes, cinnamon and spice. 2014 was an excellent vintage; this wine is delicious now but will continue to improve for the next decade and more.


Aged in French oak for 22 months.

Tasting notes

Dark aromas of black cherry and blackberry and hints of espresso and Christmas spice give way to voluptuous flavors of creme de cassis, blueberries, vanilla and fresh cocoa. Soft tannins and a long finish complete the experience.


Oakville (Napa)


80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot