2013 Count’s Selection, Charbono, Buena Vista Winery

We’ll get to more details later in this summary, but know right now the 2013 Charbono was a big hit at our gathering this evening. I’ll do some reading so that I can better share the origins and goals of this delicious red gem from Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery–but it was flat-out great.

2013 Count's Selection, Charbono, Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma, California, USA.

2013 Count’s Selection, Charbono, Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma, California, USA.

Let me say that I have never heard of Charbono as a varietal and, upon selecting this bottle for our company, was basing its “worthiness” on the reputation of (and years of experience tasting) Buena Vista Winery. Those following Notes have seen numerous Buena Vista raves that weave their way through weekly postings and make our Top Reds list–not only annually but all-time as well. (If you’re reading this, my friend, I’d say Buena Vista is to me as Merry Edwards is to you.) Nevertheless, I expected only “goodness” from the 2013 Charbono but no flavors or accents, specifically.

Our guests included lifelong friends and their families, visiting overnight for the Charlotte Panthers football game. We had a big pile of snacks, fresh veggies, cheeses, and excellent conversation before and all throughout dinner. The main course was a crowd-pleasing macaroni-and-cheese-and meatloaf combination (salad too) that was both delicious and a rib-sticker at the same time. I don’t know if a bold red is supposed to be paired with this kind of dish, but we damn well loved the wine. Would you understand my thinking if I said it reminded me of a split between a Cab and a Syrah? Even before finishing the bottle we were lamenting that we had only one of these.

Later I pulled out the winemaker’s notes and share here: “This rare wine, a deep dark red in the glass, opens with inviting aromatic notes of blackberry and plum. Flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and dark chocolate are balanced with a touch of leather and an earthy spiciness. This medium-plus bodied wine has a textured mouthfeel, big tannins, and long, satisfying finish.

Reading the above you can see why we loved it. The 2013 Charbono had all the characteristics I find desirable in a good wine: the fruits, the hint of spice, the earthy undertones. The Count Agoston Haraszthy, founder of the winery, supposedly brought vines of this rare varietal back from a trip to Europe in the 19th century, and the 2013 vintage was barrel-aged for 18 months in seasoned French, Hungarian and American oak barrels. To excellent effect, I might add.

It was a great evening for wine (we finished a delicious 2012 Reata Pinot Noir and a 2013 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon, also Sonoma treats, after the Charbono), as we were tucked away from the damp and the rain. These great grapes engendered smiles for us all and readied us for the Panthers’ win too. Wish you could obtain a bottle yourself, but that’s a big task for sure since the winery has sold all of its original production. But give it a go–SO worth it.

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