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Monday, January 26, 2009

Dante Robino Bonarda 2006

Dante RobinoUntil it was recently surpassed by Malbec, Bonarda was the most planted grape in Argentina. Even so, there was much confusion as to what it really was. Was it Bonarda Piemontese, the grape from Italy’s Piedmont region used to make Dolcetto? Or was it one of several other varieties of Bonarda?

Genetic testing by American grape geneticist Carole Meredith established that the Bonarda grown in Argentina is in fact the same grape known as Charbono in California (that name always makes me start humming The Beat Goes On) and Corbeau, Douce Noire, or Charbonneau in the Savoie region of France. Meredith’s test conclusions are supported by the fact that the grape used to make Dolcetto ripens early and makes light, fruity wines while Charbono ripens late and produces wines that are decidedly not light. In Argentine vineyards, Bonarda is one of the last grapes to be harvested.

The Dante Robino Bonarda 2006 ($12) is a full-bodied wine with just enough tannins to make it food-friendly. It opens with a nose of tobacco and cedar, then surprises the palate with big, mouthfilling flavors of huckleberries and fig with hints of cedar. Its finish is long and dry. Delicious by itself, this Bonarda would pair well with red meats and boldly-flavored stews.
J. Silverheels Gray, 10:05 AM


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