Gone are the days when bottles of rich Charbono graced our dinner tables and the sounds of Journey played on our eight tracks. An uncommon red-wine grape grown in California's Napa Valley and Mendocino County, Charbono wines are very dark in color and tend to be both tannic and acidic (hence long aging). Charbono is thought to have links to Corbeau (or Charbonneau), a rare French variety, but its true ancestry is as mysterious and obscure as the depths of your uncle's purple shag carpeting. In the early 1980s, there were about 100 acres of Charbono in California, most of that was sourced by Inglenook for a faithful few who loved the inky, meaty, black colored wines. This 1978 example from Inglenook is a taste of Napa's history in a glass. Today, there are less than 65 Charbono producing acres in the whole of the United States; you will not find Charbono on most wine store shelves or restaurant wine lists. But once you've learned to love the stuff, Charbono will be "always yours….faithfully."
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