Fans of Turley Zinfandel or Pure Decadence will Love This
This is one of the outright richest and most delectable Napa Valley reds we have offered in a long time. The 2013 Tofanelli Charbono — which Robert Parker touted as “maybe the best Charbono I have tasted from California as of late” — will leave lovers of rich, cult Napa reds gobsmacked. Produced by the legacy estate Tofanelli, a name “synonymous with some of the great Zinfandels produced by Larry Turley” according to Parker, this bottle boasts pedigree for days. Tofanelli Vineyard grapes provided the secret ingredient for Dave Phinney back when he used to make “The Prisoner,” and now he still works with the vineyard when crafting his Orin Swift wines like Papillon. So too with Thomas Rivers Brown, the force behind nine straight 100-point Cabernets and a Food & Wine “Winemaker of the Year,” who can’t stay away from third-generation winemaker Vince Tofanelli’s soils. Deep, dark, and sensuously rich, this is one of our favorite discoveries, not to mention one of Parker’s favorite Charbonos ever, hailing from the “game-changer” 2013 vintage that The Wine Advocate rated “extraordinary.”
Among California collectors, a top bottling of Charbono is among the most sought-after prizes, as only a few hundred acres in the state are dedicated to its cultivation. Of those, the 1.5 acres that Tofanelli has set aside for the variety might be the finest. There’s a reason that winemakers like Phinney, Brown, and Turley — whose Tofanelli Zinfandels are the stuff of legend — are so taken with the terroir. In the family since the 1920s, the vineyards are dry-farmed and vines are head-trained, ancient, and gnarled, eking out tiny berries of astounding concentration.
Robert Parker called 2013 “one of the most epic and awesome vintages” in the history of Napa Valley, making for a Charbono for the ages. Cooler than 2012, the growing season was filled with blue-sky days where daytime highs stayed between the mid-80s and mid-90s. Harvest took place under near-perfect conditions, leading to an exquisite crop of Charbono and Petite Sirah, infused with the firmest acids and ripest tannins in years. Wherever they’re found, Tofanelli’s wines tend to sell out quickly. This one is no exception.