TN: Four Charbonos..(short/boring)

We had four Charbonos on Wed night:
12. Benandants Charbono ShypokeVnyd/NapaVlly (15%) ArbeGarbe/StHelena 2014: Very dark/near black color; intense earthy/
dusty/OV bit herbal/rosemary intense black cherry/RCCola/Mondeuse-like some toasty/oak complex beautiful nose;
rather tart very spicy black cherry cola/RCCola/boysenberry some earthy/dusty/OV bit herbal/thyme flavor w/ modest
hard/rough tannins; very long/lingering intense black cherry cola/RCCola/boysenberry rather dusty/OV some earthy/
loamy light toasty/oak complex finish w/ some hard/rough tannins; probably needs a few yrs and may go out 10
or more; shows the classic Charbono earthiness/rustic character but more intense fruit than any Charbono I can
recall; resembles a Savoie Mondeuse somewhat but much more fruit; truly a great example of great Charbono; pricey
but may just be worth it. $70.00

  1. Calder Wine Co. Charbono MeyerVnyd/Calistoga/NapaVlly (12.6%; 276 cs; StHelena 2012:
    Very dark color; pretty funky/earthy/unclean/some bretty slight licorice/blackberry some earthy/loamy nose;
    tart very unclean/earthy/bretty/goat pen/funky flavor w/ little fruit; long unclean/bretty/earthy/loamy
    very slight licorice/blackberry finish w/ modest hard tannins; rather Italian in character and quite unclean/
    bretty but at least not fecal; way too unclean for my taste. $27.50 (Ord)

  1. Colina LasLiebres Bonarda Clasica (13.9%; Unoaked; Altos LasHormigas/Mendoza/Argetina
    : Med.dark color; strong earthy/loamy/dusty/compost pile/root cellar bit reductive slight smokey rough/rustic/
    coarse little fruit nose; soft metallic/tangy/sour rather earthy/loamy/compost pile/Kansas root cellar very slight
    black cherry/Charbono flavor w/ some rough/coarse tannins; med.long sour/earthy/loamy/compost pile/reductive/sewer
    gas very slight black cherry/balsamic finish w/ modest rough/coarse tannins; a rather earthy/loamy/rough/coarse
    Charbono w/ a paucity of fruit; might go w/ BarBQue Argentine anteater; overpriced at even $12.00 (KK)

  1. Summers Charbono VillaAndriana Estate Vnyd/Calistoga/NapaVlly (13.6%; Jim&Beth Summers/
    Calistoga 2011
    : Dark color; strong black cherry/boysenberry/Charbono/balsamic bit earthy/loamy/truffly slight
    ContraCosta/plummy/Mourv-like light smokey/toasty/oak somewhat complex nose; soft slightly tangy/metallic some
    black cherry cola/boysenberry/licorice/balsamic classic earthy/Charbono/loamy light smokey/oak flavor w/ modest
    hard tannins; rather long bit tangy/metallic soft bit rustic/rough/earthy/loamy strong black cherry cola/
    boysenberry/balsamic light smokey/oak finish w/ some rough tannins; reminds a lot of te old Inglenook Charbonos
    w/ more fruit & less oak; some like good Carso Terrano; quite a nice red w/ classic Charbono character; can
    still use another few yrs. $26.50 (KK)

More ramble-mouth from TheBloodyPulpit:

  1. Charbono: This is a vanishing grape (alas) w/ only about 2 ha remaining in the Savoie, where it is known
    as DouceNoir and where the variety is thought to have originated. It was once fairly available in Calif but
    those plantings are dwindling as old vnyds are removed. At one time, Inglenook made a fair amount of Charbono,
    which alerted people to the potential the grape has in Calif. It was also used in the SpecialBurgundy that BV
    once produced. It is most widely planted in Argentina, where it goes under the name Bonarda. Unrelated to the
    Bonarda Piemontese or Bonarda d’ OltrepoPavese.
    The Calder is made by Rory Williams, son of John Williams/Frog’sLeap and Julie Johnson/TresSabores. Given
    that I bought it at the OrdinaireWineBar/Oakland, and from the taste, it is obviously a “natural” wine.
    Certainly that uncleanliness in this wine would confirm that. He also makes a dry Riesling from very old
    vines on the RossiRanch that might be interesting, though I’m a bit scared to try it now.
    The Benandants are Letizia Pauletto and Enrico Bertoz, who make whites under the ArbeGarbe label. And very
    fine whites they are. In a Friuli style. The Bertozs hail from Friuli. Enrico was a winemaker at Nonino
    (famed for their grappas) and now is winemaker at FloraSprings. This Benandants was easily the greatest
    Charbono ever made in the entire World. And I liked the Summers a lot.

There has only ever been one Cher Bono! Err…wait…what were we discussing?

Just thought I’d add some info on recent Calder wines - my first experience with them, tasted at the Seven % Solution tasting in SF back in May. Tasted a Charbono there that I really enjoyed, though it was a 2013 rather than the 2012 that Tom reported on.

Rory Williams (Calder is his middle name) established his label in 2011. He grew up around wine – his family owns Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley, and Rory sources some of his fruit from their vineyards. Calder has focused on traditional but somewhat overlooked California grape varieties. Rory was behind his winery table at the tasting, and poured me six of his wines – 2015 Dry Riesling, 2015 Chenin Blanc (pre-release), 2015 Carignane Rosé, 2013 Charbono, 2014 Carignane, and 2013 Petite Sirah. The Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and Charbono all came from Napa Valley vineyard sources that Frog’s Leap farms. The Riesling was a standout – kept on the skins for about three hours before pressing, and made in both stainless steel and neutral oak, this had bright citrus aromas with earthy, floral, and herbal notes, and a slightly chalky texture on the palate and finish, quite distinctive. The Chenin displayed pear and stone fruit on the nose along with a stony mineral quality, a lively yet smooth mouthfeel and slightly tangy finish – this could use a bit of time to settle down but showed fine potential. The two Carignane wines were sourced from old vines in Mendocino County, mostly in Redwood Valley. The direct-press Rosé was on the lees for six months, and showed plum and spice notes with medium acidity, while the 2014 Carignane had riper plum and berry fruit with a firm tannic finish. The Charbono and Petite Sirah were my favorites of the Calder reds – the Charbono was very true to the variety, with earth, plum, pepper, and leather on the nose, medium weight with moderate tannins. The Petite Sirah (fermented with 100% whole clusters) had darker fruit plus earthy, stemmy, and floral notes, full-bodied with plenty of structure for aging. I’d missed Calder at last year’s tasting, and their whites in particular this year were highlights.

I’ve never had a Charbono, but I have a '10 (?) Turley in my cellar. Probably should open it, huh?

I had a foley charbono earlier this year that I thought made an excellent food wine. Good acidity and red fruit.

Not to take away from your thread, but a blast from the past. I remember years ago drinking wines from Fife Vineyards (Max Cuvee and their Cab reserve anyone?) and I recall that they also made a Charbono. Unfortunately they ran into financial issues in the early 2000’s. I just noticed that Dennis past away earlier this year. I found these old articles by Rod Smith.

At a recent visit to a South East US restaurant enjoyed a bottle of a '74 Inglenook Charbono. Highly recommended.

What? No Duxoup?


Tom if you cut and paste the Colina note into the Week2 Virtual Tasting thread at the top of this forum it’ll cost Jay Hack $5!

All for charity.

Thanks for the notes, Tom!

I don’t think I have tried a Charbono. The fact that I cannot remember may not be a positive sign. :wink:

Thanks, Ron, for the article from the LA Times. I really miss the wines from Fife.