Probably since I first heard about the Slow Food Movement, I’ve liked the concept of preserving food and food culture by consuming it. In California, there are primarily three heritage grapes, Zinfandel, Valdiguié, and Charbono. Of those, Zin is pretty widely planted, but Valdiguié and Charbono are sparse and “endangered” if we don’t drink them. We’ve been producing Valdiguié for close to a decade now and I’ve had my eyes and ears open for a Charbono that we could foster.
Around the Spring of 2013, I got in touch with Brian Babcock in Suisun Valley. He had a small two-acre block of Charbono that was just a few years old after being grafted over from Merlot. I don’t think even he is sure why he chose Charbono, but we are grateful that he did. Turns out to be a great fit for the region. It is slow ripening even with the warm weather and holds acid. What more could we ask for.
20% Whole Clusters or stems were included in the uninoculated fermentation and the wine was aged in all older barrels for 10 months before bottling.
Typical for the grape, this wine is very dark in color and heavy in the nose, but it doesn’t live up to this expectation. It actually drinks very pretty, almost light. The tannin level is moderate given the way it looks and smells.