The Charbono grape does best in a warm-to-hot climate, where nighttime temperatures drop dramatically, facilitating acid development and retention. Small, old vineyards surrounding Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Mendocino counties are the major sources of this fruit in California. One such vineyard is the Babcock Vineyard in Suisun, which fits this description perfectly. The grape was thought to have originated in the Savoie region of France; in California, it dates to the 1880s. Some believe Charbono to be identical to the Dolcetto grape of Piedmonte; in fact, it is found there in both Dolcetto and Barbera vineyards. However, no wine labeled Charbono is produced in Italy.
After three years of plentiful harvests, California’s water shortage finally impacted the vines, resulting in a much smaller crop of approximately 20% to 40% less fruit than expected. In addition, we also experienced a very early harvest. On the positive side, we now have smaller berries packed with flavor. Because the grapes had enough time to hang and fully ripen on the vine, harvesting early will have no negative effects. Thus, even in the drought conditions, Napa Valley produced another magnificent crop.
The 2015 Vintage Charbono grapes spent 5 days on their skins, cold soaking in order to extract all the flavor, structure and body of the fruit prior to being fermented dry. This process brings forward the flavor profiles, including sweet notes of spice with undertones of black jammy fruit. The full mouth-feel transforms into a lingering finish; thus, the palate echoes with the wine for an extended period, allowing the memory of the bold fruit to live long after finishing the glass. Charbono’s very dark, thick skins tend to impart a fair amount of Tannin. Our Wine Maker, Eric Lyman, made this wine in a light to medium bodied style.
Traditional pairing with Charbono takes us to Italy. And when one thinks of traditional Italian flavors, pizza tends to be top of mine, as it encompasses so many variations of salt dominant flavors, along with appealing textures that call for luxurious sips to cut through the richness of the cheese and intensity of the sauce. For example, a thin crust covered with rich tomato sauce, garlic infused olive oil, Kalamata olives, anchovies, capers, goat cheese and arugula paired with the bold fruit of our Charbono will make the fruit come to the forefront of the palate, softening the tannin and providing harmony to an incredible meal.
|Wine Style||Red Wine|