TN: Two Charbonos....(short/boring)

Tried these two Charbonos at dinner last night:

  1. Turley Charbono TofanelliVnyd/NapaVlly (13.8%) St.Helena 2008: Very dark/near black color w/ little bricking; strong blackberry/boysenberry/bit rustic/mushroomy some earthy/loamy some dusty/OV light toasty/oak almost Languedoc-like rather interesting nose; very slight cedary/pencilly/oldRed soft fairly rich/lush strong blackberry/plummy rather earthy/dusty/OV bit rustic/loamy/mushroomy/ContraCosta-like slight metallic/drying light toasty/oak flavor w/ light bit drying tannins; med.long soft fairly lush/rich light blackberry/plummy rather earthy/rustic/loamy/rough/coarse/bit metallic slight blackberry/licorice/plummy finish w/ light coarse/drying tannins; showing a bit of age but in fairly good shape; shows lots of rustic/bit coarse Charbono some like an older Languedoc Carignane, a bit like an older Cline ContraCosta Carignane.

  1. Ridge Charbono FredianiVnyd/Calistoga/NapaVlly (5% Zin; 13.0%; 10 brls; bttld Feb 2021; Drk: 3/21-3/27-3/28: JO/MB; tataric acid) Healdsburg 2019: Dark color; much brighter/youthful blackberry/licorice some earthy/loamy/rustic slight graphite/ozone light vanilla/Am.oak bit complex nose; fairly soft slight metallic/tangy slight blackberry/plummy rather earthy/dusty/rough/coarse some dusty/OV light Am.oak/vanilla slight graphite/ozone/pungent bit complex flavor w/ some rough/rustic/bitey tannins; long bit soft some metallic/tangy rather rough/coarse/earthy/dusty/OV light blackberry/licorice light vanilla/Am.oak finish w/ modest rough/coarse tannins; a rather earthy/loamy/coarse/rustic red some like a ContraCosta Carignane but less fruit; not a particularly attractive red & not speaks much of Ridge; interesting is about the best you can say about it. $36.00 (ATP)

A wee BloodyPulpit:

  1. This is one of the first post-EricBauer Ridge wines I’ve seen. The Drk date comes from JO/MB. I have no idea who MB is, if it’s a real person. My guess is that it stands for JohnOlney/MonteBello to emphasize that this is the post-EricBauer era at Ridge.

  1. Charbono: Known as Corbeau de Savoie in France where it was supposidely originated. Known in Argentina as Bonarda. Also known as DouceNoir. It has dwindled down to near nothing in Calif, mostly in a few Calistoga vnyds. It has somewhat of a cult following. I’ve no idea why, though. Iglenook used to make a rather interesting Charbono back in its day. Charbono used to be the bakckbone component of the BV Special Burgundy, which was quite a good, though not Burgundian, red. Probably the best Charbono these days is made by EnricoBertoz/Arbe Garbe, from the ShypokeVnyd.
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I tried the '19 Ridge Charbono a couple weeks ago at Ridge. That’s a benchmark grape for me, with a unique signature, that I’m passionate about. If one doesn’t show its varietal character, I’m not going to be happy. If they f*** the wine up in one brain dead way or another, I’m not going to be happy. Shypoke’s own version used to be gorgeous. Then they went to an extreme woody tannin “style”. Then disappeared from the retailers here who used to carry them. Now they show ripe and oaky. I’ve pretty much not been happy with any that I’ve tried over last couple decades. Our third attempt was pretty good. Maybe only limited by being Santa Clara Valley fruit, rather than Calistoga. This Ridge wine is clearly a Ridge wine, but some time with air that signature showed. It’s a well balanced, built to age wine. I bought some and will give them a few years. It’s not the Holy Grail, but it’s a good one.

Funny, the wording of the JO drinking window sounds like a reversion. Eric had finally moved to more realistic drinking windows. “Enjoyable upon release, this wine will develop over the next six to seven years.” That’s code for “Bury these, and don’t think about opening your first bottle until at least 2028.”


I have left mine for a future sampling, opting to drink the “summer pack” set with the Valdigue being my red slurper when the situation requires refreshment without intellectual engagement. So far, so good.


If you haven’t given Matt Morris Charbono wines a try it might be worth looking into. He is focused on quality to the point of the same treatment as high quality Cabernets. They are really well made.