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Charbono is a smoky, complex red wine that was first planted in Savoie, an area in Eastern France, and called "Corbeau de Savoie," Today, it’s a beloved grape for winemakers in Napa Valley, particularly in the northern town of Calistoga where temperatures are nearly 15 degrees warmer than the valley’s southern tip.

Charbono also does well in Argentina, and is especially a favorite grape for small wineries that can afford to test-drive rare grapes knowing they don’t have to make more than 100 cases of the wine.

In addition to Napa Valley, Mendocino County in California is a popular spot for growing Charbono due to extreme temperature swings in a given day, which allows grapes to fully ripen and develop into a wine marked by tar and leather notes.

In the glass, Charbono is a deep, sultry purple and is about 15 percent alcohol, making it a suitable swap for palates who enjoy the full-bodied flavor of a California Zinfandel. It would pair well with bacon, game meats, or a hearty seafood-based soup such as Cioppino.

Quick Facts

  • California remains the only U.S. state where Charbono grapes are grown, around 90 acres. Nearly two-thirds of that is in Napa Valley, California
  • When Francis Ford Coppola purchased Inglenook Winery in 1998, he inherited lots of Charbono dating back to 1882, and commercial production of Charbono stemming to the 1940s
  • Charbono is often referred to as "Charbona" and a bottle costs significantly less than its California counterparts

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