Italian Wines

Why aren't there more Charbono and Nebiollo wines produced domestically?

Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

The reasons for the popularity of particular grape varieties depend upon a number of factors. First, many European varieties were initially planted in California because they already enjoyed a measure of global recognition. Even now, fashion drives the market, explaining why Chardonnay and Cabernet seem to be planted almost everywhere. Another key factor is the suitability of growing conditions, the prerequisite for quality for any variety. Charbono remains obscure to most US wine drinkers and is relatively better known as the Bonarda of Argentina, which can be quite good. It is the same variety as Douce Noire of Savoie in France, hardly a widely known wine region. It might well be suitable to many parts of the US, but currently has a very low profile. Nebbiolo, on the other hand, is known for some of Italy's greatest red wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. These are wines that, at their best, I am crazy about. But it is a temperamental grape to grow and can yield lightly colored, dry, tannic wines somewhat out of mainstream tastes. It could well be, however, that some areas of the US could produce very credible examples - if wineries believed they could market the wines successfully.

About The Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey and China. Roger became one of America's first Masters of Wine in 1993.

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