Wow...this Wine Blogging Weds snuck up on me in a BIG WAY!
The cool Dale Cruse from drinksareonme is hosting this month's WBW#62 and set the theme very creatively. Titled "A Grape By Any Other Name" prompts us to try the alternate common name of a varietal. For example, instead of a Syrah, try a Shiraz, or vice versa, depending on where you live :-) Also of great interest are BONUS POINTS that are often awarded in WBW. This month, Dale's offering bonus props for tasting wines of BOTH of the synonyms as well as the uber geekdom prize for most obscure grape. We'll, I don't think we'll get that one here, but both Bonarda and Charbono are not common to California or the US for that matter.
Essentially, as we mentioned in a previous review of a Charbono from Summers, it's planted to only 80 acres in the US. Yep. That's it. Interestingly, Bonarda is planted to thousands of hectares and is the 2nd most popular varietal grown in Argentina. So that begs the question: Which is the more common of the synonyms?
While you stew on that one, I'll drink the wine.
The 2006 Robert Foley Napa Valley Charbono is a deep colored wine with a pleasant and sophisticated nose leading down the path of rich grape and dark stone fruit with a very round and supple mouthfeel. It's base is extremely supportive of a very comprehensive flavor layer profile including anise, chocolate and earth. It's a perfect selection for red meat with dark vegetables such as beets or legumes or duck with a berry/wine sauce. Again, sophistication is the key. Additionally, I recommend decanting this wine to fully enjoy its potential.
2006 Robert Foley Napa Valley Charbono
Retail: $27 (seen for $26.99)
The 2008 Espiritu de Argentina Mendoza Bonarda on the other hand has a much more youthful approach to life. It's ready to go, spirited and one could easily compare this as a young paint stallion to the above Charbono as a dressage Hanovarian. Both are wonderful stock, but differ in their attitude.
This Bonarda brings a free-flowing bright blackberry nose, with hints of tobacco. The front is neither round, nor too sharp and it brings a much lighter mouthfeel. It does a good job of ensuring that you have a pleasant, stress-free and fun time with it and will pair much more widely than others. Chicken, darker fish, sausages, pizza, burgers...all would go great with this Bonarda. Buy some, drink it with a great dinner, have a great time! It surely brings the "Spirit of Argentina" to the table.
2008 Espiritu De Argentina Mendoza Bonarda
So, theyre' you go. Get out of the box, do something completely different and enjoy a Charbono/Bonarda. It's a super varietal, in all of its of styles and attitudes.
Disclosure: This wine (Bonarda) was sent to me as a sample for my review.