- Publish Date: Jul 17, 2009
This Sunday the British Open Champion will walk onto the 18th green and proudly raise the Claret Jug above his head. To most the Claret Jug represents the highest achievement in golf’s oldest tradition, but if you examine the prize closely, you’ll notice there’s an even deeper wine history to be told.
As the name (and the shape) suggests, the Claret Jug is, in essence, an extraordinarily fancy decanter. During the 19th century (and the several hundred years prior), the English were importing and enjoying an awful lot of wine from Bordeaux, and in so doing devised their own word for the blended wines coming from the region—“claret.”
The word claret actually comes from the French word clairet meaning “pale.” This may seem strange given what we expect out of wines from St. Emilion and Haut-Médoc, but the great wines from Bordeaux were not always the deep, sanguine, red that they are today. Rather they were more in the style of a dark rosé.
It should come as no surprise then, that in 1870 the British chose a beautiful, silver “claret jug” as the champion’s prize. A befitting trophy for the top competitor and a superb place for a top wine to open up.
Think Nick Faldo ever decants a little Chateaux Margaux in his?
To read a more in depth history or view pictures of some of the world's most elegant claret jugs visit www.claretjugs.com.