Bonarda is the second most widely planted Argentinian grape but its roots are not clearly established. Some believe it to be related to Italian Charbono (which is different from Californian Charbono), or perhaps a relative of the nearly extinct Savoie red varietal, Corbeau. Regardless of its origin, it is not a grape that wine drinkers commonly ask for by name.
Yes, I was aware of Bonarda before tonight, but I had a preconceived notion that it was an inferior grape. With that bias I set my expectations for the 2007 Bodega Jacques et Francois Lurton Bonarda Reserva low, and was pleasantly surprised - smokey, meaty and spicy (liquorice and cloves) on the the nose, with pretty blackberry and hints of vanilla and dark cocoa. If you are used to big, jammy Malbec the palate on this Bonarda will shock you with medium body, crisp fruit, and green tannins. Surprisingly more structured than I expected (just 12.5% alcohol), but perhaps too tightly wound... A 'rustic', brooding wine for a cold winter day and a hearty stew, some cellar time might soften up the rough edges.
plastic cork. 12.5% alcohol
Price: C$15.75 (SAQ)