This week we received two new Argentine Bonardas that that far exceeded our expectations for that kind of wine. The wines were from Santa Julia and Zuccardi which are actually the same company but different quality levels. We actually tasted the whole line and selected a half dozen for the store. But the Bonardas are special. The Santa Julia is fresh and vibrant, medium bodied with spice and food-friendly. The Zuccardi is richer and more subdued being a reserve quality wine. They are both priced at $10.99; the Zuccardi is '06 and marked down. Jump on it.
Here's some information on Bonarda. Bonarda, always thought to be the Bonarda of Italy actually comes from Savoie in eastern France; north of Provence, east of Beaujolais, and south of Alsace. This region features many grape varieties with which we are largely unfamiliar possibly due to relative isolation being an Alpine region with very small scattered vineyards. The grapes that thrive there have probably benefitted from being there so long and may not actually travel well to new world environs.
That said, Bonarda in Argentina is the second most widely planted grape in that country and is the same grape as Charbono in California. In Savoie, "Charbonneau" produces a light floral red; in California, a full-bodied, dark red with medium tannnins; in Argentina, while more like California, Bonarda is not quite as big.
So stop in and try Bonarda and, by the way, we do have Napa Charbono in the store too.