It takes an inquisitive mind to even want to make a wine called Charbono, and pure skill to make something significant from this little-known, black-skinned grape. Meet Antonio Pasos, owner/winemaker of Lodi's Pasos Vineyards.
Pasos discovered his calling fairly early in life, when his family moved from Monterey (where he was born) to Madera in California's Central Valley to grow winegrapes. Granted, 25 to 30 years ago the Madera American Viticultural Area was mostly about Thompson Seedless — industry old-timers will recall that at one point, this table grape was the backbone of California "Chablis" — but in their own backyard, the Pasos family also grew experimental grapes like Syrah, and various clones of Cabernet Sauvignon on multiple rootstocks. Hence, the germination of Pasos' inquisitive nature.