VinoTripping Blog

Bonarda or Bonarda or Charbono?

Sommossa Bonarda dell’Oltrepo Pavese DOC 2021

I recently participated in a lovely wine dinner in Boston put on by the Consortium Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese at Forcella in Boston, MA. We tasted a selection of wonderful wines highlighted in my recent series Oltrepò Pavese Wines. One wine in particular reminded me of a topic I had covered on my virtual tasting series on facebook.

I had served a Charbono wine. We learned that Charbono is the same varietal as Bonarda from Argentina. It has a red fruit profile, light, sometimes effervescent from carbonic maceration, cranberry, raspberry. I serve it chilled sometimes and it is wonderful as a sipping wine in the summer or with turkey for Thanksgiving.

At our dinner we enjoyed a Bonarda with a different profile. This Bonarda is made by Castello Luzanao, The difference is that this Bonarda is made with the varietal Croatina, as are the Bonarda’s in the region. In fact, there are 6 different grapes in the world that can produce a Bonarda.

“The actual, true Bonarda grapes are a group of at least 6 distinct Italian grape varieties, the most well-known of them is Bonarda Piemontese. To make things more confusing, there is also a slightly fizzy red wine labeled “Bonarda” from Oltrepò Pavese in Lombardy that’s actually made with Croatina grapes. And finally, some winemakers in Piedmont label wines as Bonarda, but they are actually made with a grape called Uva Rara… you know, just to make things more confusing.”

This wine is slightly effervescent and is lovely chilled. Giovannella Fugazza is the owner/ winemaker. She is incredible. I was fortunate to meet her when we traveled to the region last year. She has been a guest winemaker for the highly esteemed Leonardo DaVinci winery in Milan in 2019.

About Author

After graduating from Brandeis University, Alison worked as a teacher at two op high schools in the country and spent her summers traveling the world. On one of her adventures, she visited Stellenbosch and Paarl in South Africa, which ignited a lifelong passion for learning about wine. In 2004, she worked as a Wine Consultant for the Traveling Vineyard and began to study wine more intensively. While working as a high tech recruiter, she completed her Advanced Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in the UK in 2018. Her wine travels have taken her to the wine growing regions of the US, Europe, Africa and Australia. Alison is a member of the Boston Sommelier Society, a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers and is a Wine, Travel and Lifestyle Media Influencer. She recently created and released her successful wine tasting card game VINO!. Currently, Alison is running her business, Artisan Wine Group, offering private and corporate wine events and sharing VINO! across the globe.

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