TN: 1968 Inglenook Charbono. Really Special

What a privilege to drink this. My CO-WOTY along with the 2009 Sky Vineyards Mt. Veeder Zinfandel (2013 Ultramarine BdB a close 2nd). Just a perfect bottle to finish off the year.


Cool note Rich. Happy New Year!

Thanks Jason - Happy New Year to you as well!

Thanks for sharing the experience Rich. Happy New Year!


Happy New Years Tom!

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Sounds quite similar to a note I recently posted on the '71:

Deep ruby color. Smoky, plummy, herbal, sous bois, black tea aromatics. Cedary, sour plum, bouquet garni palate that’s got a touch of tannin holding it together and a splash of brightening acidity. Finishes with a gravelly mineral notion providing intrigue beyond the tender, age-induced sweetness. Really, really nice surprise.

Sounds amazing…would have loved to have tried it.

Nice!! Yep, it does sound very similar…although your incredibly descriptive note is a million times better than my half-assed attempt!! [cheers.gif]

I’m pretty sure you’d dig it Marshall - it was a special bottle!

Very cool! That bottle looks pristine! Reminded me of this wine I cracked awhile ago…“Red Pinot” probably had Charbono in it was well! Still have one remaining bottle. Happy New Year Rich! [cheers.gif]

  • 1968 Inglenook Vineyards Red Pinot - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford (3/2/2009)
    Big Boy tasting (Buzzini House): What a shocker! Alive and SUPER tasty! First thing I noticed was a funky smoky electrical fire thing going on…not off putting, but intriguing. Tons of raspberry, plum, rhubarb fruit…still sweet…complexities of dusty dirty spice, soy sauce, old leather, potpourri florals, wet leaves. Wonderful alive crancherry acidity…amazing balance. Who would have thought? This wine almost stole the show from the Screagle/Harlan and others in the day…Great wine!!! (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

That’s awesome Buzz! It must have had some charbono in it, as your note sounds VERY similar to my wine!

And the bottle really was pristine. I snagged it at auction obviously but a huge high-five to whoever owned this wine originally as they took incredibly good care of it. Happy New Year buddy - here’s to a great 2021!

Thank you for sharing this. I had this same wine when I was in my thirties and living in Napa (55 years old now). Got it as a gift from Charlie Wagner Sr., Chuck’s dad. He had quite a neat collection of old bottles. It was so beautiful then. This post brought back pleasant memories.

What a great story! I would have loved to try this wine in its ‘youth’ to get a guage for how its evolved…but it really was special at 52 years old.

Thanks for posting - Cheers!

Awesome tasting note, Rich!

It’s always a delight when a well-aged wine beats the coin toss of general drinkability. Yours delivered the goods big-time!

Well said buddy! Super fortunate that someone took such good care of this bottle before I purchased it at auction [cheers.gif]

Very cool! Very happy to see some love for the old Inglenook Charbonos, which can be strangely spectacular.

In the late 90s, we (Frog’s Leap) got a call from a guy named Ken McGill, who until a few years ago owned a 4-acre parcel of old Riesling on Manley lane in Rutherford, right next to the Inglenook property. Some idiot had stiffed him on a contract, and we helped him out of the jam. Took his grapes for our Leapfrogmilch for a couple years, then helped him find a buyer. Years later, my dad gets a call from Ken, asking if he’d be interested in buying some old wines in his cellar (“I don’t drink much anymore, and I don’t want my kids to have them.”) The cellar of old wine turns out to be 10 cases of pristine C. Krug and Inglenook from the 50s and 60s–totally crazy. Mostly Cabs, but also some Krug Pinots and a few bottles of Charbono. At the time that we bought the wines, neither of us had ever heard of the grape before.

The 1964 Inglenook Charbono from that cellar is a life-changing wine for me–it inspired me to start making Charbono on my own, and it inspired us to plant 1.5 acres of Charbono in Rutherford. My memories are of a very intense, fresh, complex wine that was almost weightless–it blew my mind viz. what was possible in Napa. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to replicate whatever made these old Charbonos so good, but it’s still fun for me to contemplate how the boundaries of great wine are often bigger than I realize.

Very happy to see that you were blessed with a good bottle!


Now that…is an AWESOME story!! I love hearing how that bottle of Inglenook inspired you to plant charbono and make your own wine. I can absolutley see why as the 68 I just had was without a doubt one of the more interesting and memorable wines that I’ve had in a while. I’m going to make an effort to find some of your Calder Wine Co Charbono as I’d love to try it. Have you by chance popped an older bottle lately? Curious how they have aged so far.

Oh…and 10 cases of C. Krug and Inglenook wines from the 50’s/60’s??? If you ever get another one of those calls and need any help with drinking those wines…you know how to reach me :wink:

Thanks again for posting!

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Wow! What an experience that must have been, especially with the wine showing so well. Great note too.

Thanks Jim - it was pretty incredible! Helluva way to end the year, that’s for sure!


My birth year is 1968. I’ve been reading about how it was not a good vintage worldwide. Glad a great bottle exists.