Ark of Taste
Charbono Grape of California
The Charbono grape has a rambling life-story, not unlike that of an immigrant entering the US through Ellis Islandits name has been changed and its history confused. It is originally thought that Italian immigrants brought the Charbono grape to the US in the late 1800s under the pseudonym, Barbera. Similarly, in the 1930s the grape was mistaken for a Pinot Noir and wrongly mixed into bottles by the Parducci winery. Finally, in the late 1930s Dr Harold Olmo, a UC Davis geneticist, cleared the confusion, establishing that the Barbera was actually the Charbono. Recently, professor Carole Meredith of UC Davis, determined-through DNA testing-that the Charbono Grape of California is equivalent to the French variety, Corbeau, associated with the Savoie region of France.
Charbono grapes make a silky, deep purple, moderately acidic, medium-bodied wine. This wine is generally consumed after aging for 10 to 20 years and best when paired as part of a meal, as it lifts and incorporates with the flavors of foods ranging from meat to nuts. Finding Charbono wine at a store or restaurant is a rare occurrence, as there are only 65 acres in the US producing the grape.