Hailing from the cool, clay soils and scorching-hot summer days at the northern tip of Napa Valley's Calistoga appellation, this Charbono features vibrant aromas of cherry cola and ripe plums, back by intense secondary flavors of forest floor, mustard flowers, dark chocolate, sour cherries and bee pollen. A soft, plummy texture blends with bright acidity and dusty tannins to provide a backbone to the intense aromatics.
History of Charbono
Part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Charbono has a long and wending history in California. Only 70 acres remain here, and it is extinct in its native land of France's Savoie. After arriving in the mid-1800s (imported, it is believed, by the same man who provided the famed botanist Luther Burbank with the source material for his gardens), it was alternately mistaken for Pinot Noir and Barbera until the mid-20th century, when Inglenook's John Daniel began making it famous. Some of these mid-century examples still survive, and serve as inspiration for makers of Charbono today, myself included, to whom Charbono stands as a lasting connection to the heritage and history of winemaking in Napa Valley.
2.75 tons were harvested on October 5th, with another 3.7 tons arriving on October 17th. All lots were destemmed, but not crushed, and fermented in small ¾-ton T-bins with two hand punch-downs every day during fermentation, which lasted approximately 20 days. 50% of the lots fermented on the strength of their native yeasts. The 2012 matured for 16 months in oak barrels, with one new French oak puncheon representing 18% of the total, before being bottled on March 31st, 2014 with neither fining nor filtration.