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Calder Wine Company Charbono 2015

Red Wines

Calder Wine Company Charbono 2015


Calder Wine Company Charbono 2015


Rutherford, Napa Valley

Charbono - what are you? A rather obscure and less common grape with a rather complicated history! Otherwise known as Bonarda or Douce Noir, it originates from the alpine vineyards of the Savoie in eastern France. It in fact has quite a history in Napa, with Inglenook releasing their first straight Charbono in the 1940s!

The Calder wine co example is a first for winemaker Rory Williams and quite the important moment for him. The vineyard itself is owned by Frog’s Leap, where Rory of course manages the vineyards. He planted the vineyard himself in 2008 - just under 2 acres worth in Rutherford, and since that very day, he has trained, nurtured, shaped and watched these vines mature. Farmed organically and without irrigation. Like a proud father, 2015 finally saw the moment he could share in the fruit and produce the vineyard’s first wine.

There’s not much of it - so get it while you can! Just over 1000 bottles produced. Fermented without additions with 25% whole bunches included over 12 days with daily punchdowns. Pressed upon completion of fermentation and barreled down to 25% new French oak barrels, where it matured for 30 months. Lightly filtered on bottling, no fining.

This is Rory’s first attempt in emulating the great examples of Inglenook’s old bottlings of the same grape, which was a huge influence for him in this wine, and Calder Wine co itself. Medium- to full-bodied, abundant with black cherry and ripe plums, interlaced with dark spice, minty earthiness, and top notes that lean toward the floral.  There’s a savoury density on the palate to match its bright fruit, finishing with a bit of grip. One to drink now, and to cellar!

Press: Dark crimson. Amazing colour for such a light-bodied wine and you can indeed see the alpine connection. Pretty rigid but true to its origins, and really interesting. Not sweetened up in any way. I suspect this is the same fruit that Heitz used to vinify – and the vines are presumably pretty old. Good stuff. 12% Jancis Robinson MW, as featured in the FT magazine.

The man behind Calder Wine Co is Rory Williams - of somewhat royal winemaking blood! His father is the owner-winemaker of Frogs Leap, whilst his mother founded Tres Sabores. When not working in the vineyards at Frogs Leap, Rory makes a small quantity of wine under his own label, Calder, using cultivars that have a long history in the place where he was born, honouring the sites, his winemaking idols, and what makes Napa, Napa. Rory wants his wines to relay the history and tradition of this extraordinary region. Having seen the success at both estates with organic and dry land farming, Rory sought out parcels of vines that tick these boxes, as well as several having the advantage of age.

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