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17 June 2005

Will the Real Bonarda Please Stand Up?

I did not know this.
'Bonarda' is the most widely planted red grape variety in Argentina.

WhoisbonardaHowever..
Some experts believe Argentine Bonarda is actually the red variety called, "Charbono," in California (source:  Oxford Companion to Wine).

But it didn't come from California
Bonarda was brought to Argentina in the 19th centrury by Italian immigrants (source: Bodega Catena Zapata, Argentina).

So does Bonarda still exist in Italy?
Three distinct Italian grape varieties are known as Bonarda:

  1. Bonarda of Oltrepò Pavese and Colli Piacentini - it is actually the Croatina grape
  2. Bonarda Novarese, which is blended with the red grape Spanna (which is what the highlanders of the northern Piedmont call Nebbiolo) in DOC wines of the Novara and Vercelli hills.  This is actually the Uva Rara grape
  3. Bonarda Piemontese, which is rarely grown and remains primarily along the Tanaro river near the town of Govone (source:  Oxford Companion to Wine)

And which of these is the Bonarda brought to Argentina?
I don't know.  Let me investigate...
According to Wines of Argentina,  Argentine Bonarda is identical to a variety called Corbeau (AKA Douce Noir)

I'm confused; How about a glass of Bonarda/Corbeau/Douce Noir/Bonarda Piemontese/Uva Rara/Croatina/Charbono?
Your wish is my command:

The Skinny
Alamos Bonarda, '03 ($11)

  • AlamosbonardaFrom the Mendoza region of Argentina
  • Made from the Bonarda grape, which is...oh never mind.  Aged nine months in French (55%) and American (45%) oak
  • Deep, inky purple in color
  • Heavy duty fruit scents - black & red cherries and plums.  Also, sweet vanilla scents minus any caramel or sweet spice that usually accompanies oak bathed wine
  • Let this big 'un breathe for a few minutes before taking a sip or swig.  Full-bodied, soft tannins with dominating cherry flavors.  The alcohol concentration does seem to overpower much of the wine's acidity; making it a bit 'hot' on the finish

*** (3 stars out of 5)

This wine reminds me of a heavy-ish Merlot - though not quite the bold flavors of a big California Zin or Petite Sirah.  I would only serve this wine with intensely flavored tomato pasta dishes, grilled spicy sausage, or of course, pizza.

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Comments

samuel

looking fo a Bonarda called Val Tidone from AZ.AGR.RAFFAELLINA does it sound fammiar to anyone???

Sergio Nedal Riss

Bonarda is very comon in south brazil and uruguay, bringed by the italians, in Mendoza is produced at a high altitude, the days hot and the nights cold, located in the best region, they make amazing 14 GL in very intense taninos, it really taste a like bit like some Siraz, or Bonarda, cause thy use to mix those, by the way Mendoza makes great malbec bonarda, some very good priced!

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