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Snooth User: estar317

Inglenook Charbono 83 84 85

Posted by estar317, Jul 31, 2012.

I have magnum (3 liter) bottles of Inglenook Charbono years 1983, 1984, 1985 in their original wood boxes. Local Total Wine mgr said this is a valuable wine. Not a wine drinker. What do we do with it?


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jul 31, 2012.

Ive had these wines and they are quite enjoyable if well stored. Have you had the wines since release? Stored well? In your format, double magnum if they are three liter bottles, I would expect the wines to sell for somewhere between $150 and $250 a bottle. Wholesale or at auction after you pay all your fees you could expect to net somewhere in the $100 to $165 range for the wines. Do you have pictures of the bottles? How much airspace separates  the top of the wine from the cork with the bottle standing up?

Reply by EMark, Jul 31, 2012.

I don't know about value, Estar, but it sure I think you have a very interesting find.  I'm sure that somebody on this board can give you some insights.  In the meantime, you can start your own research by Googling "Inglenook Charbono 1982."  The condition of the bottles is important.  Can you take some pictues and post them here for people to see?  My guess is that since they are in the the wood boxes, then the bottles and the labels are in good shape.

Also, if the bottles are, in fact, 3 liter capacity, then you have double magnums.  A magnum is 1.5L.  The metric volume should be embossed on the glass somewhere--usually, on the bottom.  If they are actually double mags, then, obviously, they are worth more than mags.

Reply by EMark, Jul 31, 2012.

OK, I took too long to compose my response.  Greg jumped in there and gave a good response, which made mine pretty redundant.  ;-)

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 31, 2012.

Charbono has been on the wane in California for a long time.  Although the heyday of Inglenook was past by those years, the fact that it's a vertical of sorts (and huge format) makes it pretty rare, but you have to find a buyer.  I think an auction house is the way to go if you can guarantee the provenance (although the auction houses haven't always checked the provenance that carefully, as we know...).  Here's a little snippet from Wine Business Monthly from 2003:

A Grape Struggles to Avoid Extinction
by Patricia Savoie
The last annual dinner of The Charbono Society took place on April 1, 1989 at the Inglenook Winery in Napa Valley. One hundred aficionados in black tie worked their way through a seven- course meal and drank their way through cases of Inglenook Charbono from 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984. Perhaps they suspected that the society was near its end; perhaps not. The society had been held together by the dedication of Inglenook winemakers and of others like John Parducci...   Here's a kind of snarky description of your '85 from K&L: Gone are the days when bottles of rich Charbono graced our dinner tables and the sounds of Journey played on our eight tracks. An uncommon red-wine grape grown in California's Napa Valley and Mendocino County, Charbono wines are very dark in color and tend to be both tannic and acidic (hence long aging). Charbono is thought to have links to Corbeau (or Charbonneau), a rare French variety, but its true ancestry is as mysterious and obscure as the depths of your uncle's purple shag carpeting. In the early 1980s, there were about 100 acres of Charbono in California, most of that was sourced by Inglenook for a faithful few who loved the inky, meaty, black colored wines. This 1985 example from Inglenook is a taste of Napa's history in a glass. Today, there are less than 65 Charbono producing acres in the whole of the United States; you will not find Charbono on most wine store shelves or restaurant wine lists. But once you've learned to love the stuff, Charbono will be "always yours….faithfully."   Regular format bottles that I could find--all out of stock--at JJBuckley and K&L went for $50 to $60, but this has auction written all over it.  I'd look for an event auction specializing in historic California wines.  I'd look at the results that Zachys, WineBid, Spectrum, got for historic bottles, old BV, Inglenook and the like.  What you have would be important to the right buyer, but I would not put it out to auction without it being a specific auction for historic California wines--otherwise, a bottom feeder like me could snag it for less than it is worth.  Just my thoughts.   Side note:  For some reason, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah (Durif, they say, but who knows) have gotten respect as California specialties but Charbono, grown by some serious names, just hasn't made it.  Last I heard, Heitz grew it, but I couldn't name anyone else.   BTW, if these are really 3 L, they are double mags or, as we used to say, jeroboams. Really unusual.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 31, 2012.

Geez, great minds think alike.  I started my response when there were no replies. Hope it helps.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 2, 2012.

I've been searching for some notes from a tasting I put together last year. A plethora of old Charbono including:

1973 Franciscan Vineyards Charbono

1974 Franciscan Vineyards Charbono

1974 Inglenook Charbono

1975 Papagni Charbono Papagni Vineyards

1976 Inglenook Charbono

1978 Inglenook Charbono

1980 Inglenook Charbono

1981 Inglenook Charbono

1982 Inglenook Charbono


There were several other more recent vintages as well. Can't seem to find the notes but it was not a great tasting, too many wines were just too old. The Inglenooks from the mid70s through the mid 80 were all good, more or less. I'll come back with notes if I can dig them up.

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