Domestic Selection: Charbono, 1979. Inglenook-Napa Valley
Note: Please do not confuse the wine maker Inglenook-Napa Valley with the jug wine maker Inglenook-Navale.
Founded in 1879, the Inglenook-Napa Valley winery was the hobby of the great seaman Gustave Niebaum.
Not only a diligent student, receiving his ships papers by attending merchant marine school in Finland, he was a brilliant businessman. At age 22, Gustave petitioned the Czar of Russia and received exclusive rights for fur trading in Alaska. This strategic move founded the Alaska Commercial Company from which he amassed a large fortune. This money is what he used to found Inglenook-Napa Valley and pursue his dream and hobby of winemaking.
Inglenook-Napa Valley has a rocky though illustrious history. Founded in 1879, it is one of the few wineries that survived prohibition and to this day the 1933 Cabernet Sauvignon is a rare collectors’ item. In the mid-1960’s, suffering from low capital and health problems, the family sold the winery to bulk wine makers, Allied United Vintners. Allied was unprepared to handle specialty products and quickly adopted a bulk wine mentality and turned the winery on a downswing. Shortly thereafter, Allied sold the winery to another large organization Heublien Incorporated. Heublien’s first objective was to re-establish the bulk wine business to increase cash flow and then focus on the Inglenook-Napa Valley premium wines. Ten years after Heublien’s purchase of the winery, this 1979 Centennial Charbono was produced to mark the resurgence of the Inglenook-Napa Valley premium wine varieties (Charbono has been grown at the Inglenook Winery since 1880).
Charbono is of indistinct Italian origin. Producing big red wines of Barbera nature, good vintages can age from 15 to 20 years.
Our selection is a twelve year old example of how Charbono ages. The color is a gorgeous brick red, rather dark considering the wine’s age. The nose is inviting with roasted coffee, berries, licorice, and earth tones all laced together. The body is still quite heavy with plenty of fruit and character. The roasted coffee and berries come through nicely. It finishes dry with an aftertaste that longs for food.
Serve at room temp with crab cioppino, spaghetti, game meats or beef.
Cellaring Notes: Delicious now through mid 1992.
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