Charter Oak Winery is a gem of Napa Valley. Like many other wineries in the valley it began as a small family operation. While it’s grown since its founding in the early 20th century by Italian immigrant Guido Ragghianti, Charter Oak is still family run, by Guido’s grandson Robert Fanucci, who continues to use much of Guido’s original equipment and techniques today. The tiny winery is located in a house, just off of Highway 29, at the end of Charter Oak Avenue, in St. Helena. It’s a place I highly recommend you visit and get to know Robert, his world renown artist wife Layla, and their delicious wines.
Robert Fanucci, in the cellar of Charter Oak
2014, Charter Oak, Roberto Fanucci, Zinfandel
Pretty, almost delicate ruby color. Nose of fresh raspberries, rose petals and a hint of smokiness. On the palate fresh red berry flavors are backed up by hints of tobacco, spices and black pepper. Balanced acid makes for a long mouthwatering finish.
2014, Charter Oak, Zinfandel Mind, Estate Zinfandel
Vibrant color, a touch purple. A bright spicy nose leads to aromas of blueberry and violet. The fruit forward flavors of this medium full bodies wine feature blue and dark red fruit with bold, balanced tannins, and harmonious acidity.
2014, Charter Oak, Matilda
Bright garnet color without being extracted. A nose of currant and cranberry, and earthiness. Fresh red fruit flavors are balanced by bright acidity, silky tannin finishing with a hint of green bell pepper. The luxurious mouth feel, high acidity and delicious complexity make this wine scream to be served with food.
2014, Charter Oak, Monte Rosso Zinfandel
Sadly this is the last vintage of Monte Rosso that will be made by Charter Oak. The bright ruby color of this wine is a bit delicate and very pretty. The bright spicy nose leads to fresh red fruit. Flavors of cherry, strawberry, fresh herbs make for a very elegant zinfandel. Complex and integrated acid and tannin make for a lovely wine.
2014, Charter Oak, Guido Ragghianti,
A deep ruby color that’s very bright. The nose starts with notes of blueberry, leather and pepper. Flavors of dark fruits, think bing cherry, blueberry, and black currant are backed up by spiciness, great acid and tannin, making for a wine with lots of finesse.
2014, Charter Oak, Uncle George, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stag’s Leap
Delicate garnet color. This wine announces itself to your nose saying “Hello, I’m Napa cabernet!” Classic nose of red fruit, baking spices, a bit of mint. Big bold flavors of fruit are backed up with gripping tannin and ripping acid. This one is enjoyable now but will improve greatly and become more integrated over the next 10 years.