As a new wine-focused blogger on Patch, I’m excited to introduce myself. As you can tell from my Bio (as well as David Gurliacci’s recent Patch article about me), wine is of great interest to me, both personally and professionally.
I have launched my own Napa Valley wine label, and the debut vintage was recently awarded a 91-point score by the eminent wine critic James Suckling. I’m able to manage the marketing and administrative activities of the business from here in Darien, but all of the winemaking operations are handled out in California, so I’m immersed in the Wine Country scene.
My goal for this blog is to share my passion with other local wine lovers and help us all gain a deeper appreciation for fine wine. So that we have some degree of focus here, I’m going to concentrate on American (especially Californian) red wine, which is my area of passion and expertise. Even though we will not be focusing on all of the excellent international wines out there, there will still be more than enough for us to discuss here. I hope to explore different varietals, regions, vintages, trends, winemaking techniques, food pairing, outstanding wines, and notable vineyards, as well as other topics suggested by our readers. I’m hoping this will be a highly interactive blog, so please feel free to suggest a topic or to open a discussion if you like.
I’d like to kick things off by highlighting a varietal that isn’t well known but deserves recognition – Charbono. It’s not widely planted, but there are some great examples from California vineyards, particularly in Napa. (It’s also produced in France and Argentina, but I’ll stick to our American focus here.)
Charbono wines can be identified by their distinctively deep, dark purple color. They tend to be fairly acidic and tannic wines, so they are generally well built for aging for at least five years, and they pair well with a wide range of foods. I especially like Charbono with lamb or game meats, which tend to complement the wine’s complexity. Notes of plum, dark berries, leather, and tar are common, based on my experience.
Unfortunately, you’re not likely to run across Charbono very often given the limited production (about 65 acres annually), so stay on the lookout. If you’ve never tried it, you won’t want to miss the opportunity. In particular, keep your eye open for Robert Foley’s consistently good Charbono. It has found a home in my wine cellar, and I think it probably deserves a spot in yours as well.
Have you ever had Charbono? Found a favorite example? We’d like to hear about it. Looking forward to your comments.