Charbono

/Charbono

Douce noir (also known as Bonarda, Corbeau and Charbono) is a red Italian wine grape variety that has historically been grown in the Savoie wine region (which shifted from Italian to French control in 1860), but today is more widely planted in Argentina. The earliest mention of the grape dates from when Etruscans first planted Bonarda some 3.000 years ago in the Padana Region. It arrived in Savoie in the early 19th century, and by the end of the century it was the most widely grown red wine grape in the region. In the early 21st century it was discovered that the Bonarda grape, which is the 2nd most widely planted red grape, after Malbec, in Argentina was the Italian wine grape Bonarda Piemontese imported by Italian immigrants. The grape is also grown in California where it is known as Charbono.

In California, Bonarda/Douce noir/Charbono is produced in very limited amounts with the grape having been described as a “cult wine” for its scarcity and devotion of its connoisseurs. However, growers such as Jim Summers of the Napa Valley winery Summers Estate describes the variety as “… the Rodney Dangerfield of wine” and notes that it is a hard variety to find a market for.