In 2019 we got a cigar shaped amphora and in 2021 we got a jar shaped one; and the rest is history. There is a small block of old vine Charbono at the Gary Venturi Vineyard. This is a variety that was found all over the North Coast in the mid-century until it was pulled out to make room for other varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a late ripening and low acid variety that makes a wine that is big, dark and soft. We like to experiment with it, so in 2017 we made a sans soufre carbonic version and in 2019 we made a carbonic version that was aged in an amphora for two years. We found it quite interesting to age charbono in an oxidative vessel that was not oak. The variety soaks up oak and it tends to make a really rich, soft wine with a bit of oxidized character. Aged in amphora, it turned out so pure and delicious. For our 2021 version of this wine we added a high temp amphora which is not as oxidative, and a few neutral oak barrels.
Our 2021 Mendocino County Charbono opens up with a nose of boysenberry, bing cherry and subtle cocoa nibs. It has a mineral expression on the palate with violet, black plum and marionberry notes coming through. There is plenty of fine-grained tannin and a deep, dark richness through the finish.
The label, created by pizza legend Joe Beddia says: Bonarda, Charbono, Douce Noir. These are all analogues of the same variety; local lingo for what we call Charbono. It is a grape from the Haute Savoie region in the French Alps.