Fable Charbono, Napa Valley (3)

Fable Charbono, Napa Valley 3-Pack
$59.99 $̶9̶7̶.̶0̶0̶ 38% off List Price
2010 Fable Charbono, Napa Valley
CT link above

Winery website

If you’ve never had a Charbono, give this a shot. You might enjoy this varietal with similar food as you would with a Cab S.

…and your LLS will probably not have Charbono, so another reason to snatch this one.

I returned from lunch one day to find a monkey-labeled box at my desk. I opened it, and lo and behold there was a Fable Charbono in it! Having enjoyed a small taste of a Tofanelli Charbono once upon a time I relished the opportunity to try this one. It did not disappoint!

My tasting notes are on CT, but I cannot currently access them due to the site being down. What I remember right now, though, is the fresh and bright flavours, excellent acidity, and molarchae and I repeatedly saying to each other: “this is delicious!” If I wasn’t overly full right now it’d be an autobuy at $21.66+tax/bottle. As it is I’ll need to sleep on it.

klwines.com has it for $23/bottle. Does not seem like an enticing bargain to try a new wine.

I’m wondering if TexiCaliAli will be by to answer questions, such a s drinking window? Max hold time?

and with CT down, the link came from…?

Well, add one to the ledger for me when you wake up.

So join or create a WW Gathering!

True for those in Cali … surprising that someone is that close in price. WD?

Great question! Charbono ages incredibly well. I’ve been told to look for Charbono from the 70’s and 80’s…it’s been wine of the night in “oldest bottle in the cellar” tastings too. I had a 1972 Inglenook Charbono about 10 years ago, the fruit was still alive and very drinkable for the first 20 minutes open…then began to fade.

The 2010 Fable Charbono was our very first Charbono bottling at Brack. I’ve shown this bottle many times over the past few months and won over many a critic.

Excited to spread the news about Fable on Wine.Woot!, a varietal that we hope to bring some life into some new Charbono drinkers.

oh you can blame me, this special pricing for Wine.Woot! is the best in the nation no doubt.

Hmm… A varietal I’ve never tried from a producer who has not disappointed in the past? Worth a shot, in for one (hoping I don’t regret just getting one).

Can somebody give me one or two sentences about this wine. All of the mumbo jumbo writing is fluff compared to information I really need to know. Why can’t the writer go so far as to explain what a Charbono is. I just wanted to know if it’s a red wine, assuming that Charbono is possibly the name of a grape or the person who originally grew the grape. CAn we have more useful information.

Hey look, notes!

2010 Fable Napa Valley Charbono

popped, poured half into a split that was returned to the wine fridge, other half was tasted over the following hour.

Color: Dark reddish purple. Perfect clarity but VERY Dark.

Nose:
His: sassafras, cherry, redwood forest floor.
Hers: Ripe red plum, yellow cake, a hint of cinnamon, fresh sage (with a note of alcohol - surprising for a 12.7% wine)
His reply: I’ll agree with the red plum as opposed to the cherry but i still like my sassafras on the front and the earthiness of the forest floor on the end. I didn’t get the alcohol but I am not particularly sensitive to it.
Her reply: I understand the sassafras, but I’m getting that more as a split flavor: the sweetness folded into the yellow cake, and the herbal as the cinnamon and sage. I do see the earthiness of the forest floor, which I didn’t initially describe, but don’t feel that fully encompasses the brighter green + alcohol note that I’m getting on the end.

Palate:
His: Mid level nondescript acid on entry, followed by more of the same on the middle resolving to a bit of greenness and then cherry. The finish fades without oak influence to a slightly greenish mineral note

Hers: I see this wine as having two layers: the top, brighter note is a flavorless void while the bottom has a full plum note accented by baking spices and a bit of black pepper. This ends with a lot of dry tannins without any other flavors lingering to back them up.

His reply: ok, she was absolutely right about the two levels and I get the forest floor from the nose as well as the plum and perhaps espresso on the bottom while the top is still very meh. The tannins are reminiscent of a young Petite Sirah.

Overall:
His: The color is exciting, the nose follows on that promise and furthers it by having flavors that aren’t as common but the palate falls short of the build up. The wine is not flawed, the mouthfeel is full, it isn’t bitter or horribly tannic, there just seems to be a significant flavor missing to fill out the palate.
Hers: The interesting nose is the high point. Overall, a decent mindless wine - the flavors it has are enjoyable, and the flavors it lacks can be overlooked if you are simply enjoying the wine with a meal rather than dissecting it. Try it for the novelty of an unusual and palatable varietal, but don’t expect it to stand in for an old favorite.

After being open for over 2 hours, the notes stand with the exception of the finish being a bit longer/ more complete and the tannins fading slightly.

I will open the split and post A second set of notes before this closes this evening. I hope that the wine will have developed a bit more. I am sad give one of Ali’s wines a less than stellar review.

2010 fable Charbono

PNP on a hot so cal sunday evening

Color: skinny legs, violet hue, clear as opposed to opaque found in many violet-colored petite sirahs

Nose: alcohol, earthiness,

Taste: different for sure, cant pick out specifics. No oak influence which is a good thing. Low alcohol? Smooth and silky and comes across as well balanced…reminds a bit of a blending grape like Petit Verdot. i would say a food wine though enjoyable on its own…tasty though seems one dimensional…

I think it needs to open up a bit but liking it. Will let it sit for an hour and try with burgers from sprouts…went perfect with meal…blueberries are very noticeable now…a very pleasant and smooth wine…

Msrp guess:$25
Would buy at $18 delivered

Fable Charbono ~ Napa Valley 2010

(Sorry about any rough formatting…posting my review from iPad)

Wine magic luck struck again! I happened upon one of these bottles and here are my tasting notes. Thanks wine acquisition magic – you’re the best!!

My rule is I never look up the wine for reviews/price until after I have written these notes up. However, unfamiliar with charbono I was excited enough to research the grape. Of everything I read, I really think Wikipedia gives a pretty nice summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douce_noir After reading that, I realized I had tasted this grape before as “bonarda” at an Argentina wine tasting. I did not remember much about it at all, other than the DNA testing story.

Out of my red wine cooler at about 60 degrees. Pop and pour…

Color is dark and purple…really inky. The hold it up to a light bulb and it is still opaque kind of dark. Reminds me of a really deep syrah in color. I dripped a spot on our counter and the paper towel came up a beautiful deep magenta.

Smell is predominantly dark cherries and blackberry. Very pleasant and easy to stick your nose in the glass for many deep sniffs. Maybe something a little oaky/caramel-ish on the back end.

First Impressions (no food)

Me: First sip…oh my god this needs to breath. It is so tight I feel like I might have missed it all together. What I did get is fruit without any hint of sweetness. It is there in a tart fruit burst and then just poof, gone.

SO: Really tart! Not a long finish, which is really surprising given the aroma and color.

Venturied a glass several times through and left it out on the counter for about 1.5 hours

Me: I am new to charbono, but I admit the flavor profile is a surprise given the smell and look of this wine. It is easy to drink, but part of that is because it has such a short finish. The burst of intense tart fruit is so short it is almost hard to decide what it tastes like before it is gone. Cranberries actually come to mind.

SO: That [letting it breath] helps it, but I still get mostly tart.

With the Dinner – Stuffed acorn squash with cranberries, bleu cheese, mushrooms, and wild rice

Me: This continues to get better as the food seems to encourage it to stay on the taste buds a little longer. I still get the red/black berries as the strongest flavor, but cranberries still come to mind because of the tart.

SO: The food cuts the tartness some and this now reminds me more of a sparse French table wine. With this acorn squash dish I start to get hints of caramel after the fruit.

Two days later (the 1/2 bottle left in the bottle and kept in the fridge with the top sealed)
Served with crackers and bleu cheese

Me: The aroma is still very pleasant. I am surprised by how much the age has improved this. Tart flavor is still there, but it is not distracting. I am much more impressed this time around. I do not think cranberries any more. I think silky, smooth blackberries. Still a short finish, but not as stark as before.

SO: Tart has mellowed. This wine is almost disappears behind the food. I’m starting to get some leather/tobacco on the back end, but it is still a very astringent and dry wine (which is not a bad thing).

Summary: At each stage we make our tasting notes separately and then discuss. The thing that we kept coming back to is the mismatch behind our (totally uninformed) expectations and the actual taste of this wine. Holding a bottle of inky black wine with wonderful jammy smells that says Napa on it…and tasting something that was very thin with a short finish was a bit of a head spinner. Charbono is described on Wikipedia as a “cult wine”, and I can see why…it is enjoyable and very unique.

The tasting notes can be summed up as: Decant!! Or just open a day or two early and reseal. Tart red/black berry flavors. Very short finish. Better with food (but not too strongly flavored food).

All in all, if you are like me and really enjoy trying new wines and learning, I would buy a bottle (I do not yet know what the offer logistics will be). I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am glad I now know something about Charbono, but I do not think we are ready to join the cult yet.

I happen to have a bottle of this. I’ll post notes when my daughter naps sometime between 9am and noon PST.

I enjoy this bottle best with food for sure, anything Italian with some great cheese of course has been a fantastic pairing.

Alcohol: 12.7%, this is driven by the grapes on the vine, always the last varietal to come in during harvest, takes forever to ripen. This particular vineyard in Napa is planted on big chunks of volcanic soil, so the minerality adds a deep layer at mid-sip. This wine is leans more towards a European palate, very refined oak treatment as well.

Decant - oh yeah, I love to decant this wine, it loves some fresh air. Typically when I have this out on a regular business day, it’s opened around 7am and is just singing by mid-afternoon.