Also known as Bonarda and Charbono, Douce Noire is native to the Savoie region in France, which was under Italian rule until 1860. The grape was first recorded some 3,000 years ago, when Etruscans in the Padana Region of northern Italy grew it. It came to Savoie in the early 1800s and by end of the century it was the region’s dominant grape. Today, it is perhaps most famously grown in Argentina (as Bonarda) where it is numerically second only to Malbec. It is also prominent in the Napa Valley (as Chardono), and was thought to have been originally taken there by early European settlers.
Douce Noire is late ripening, so is often the final variety to be harvested. It retains a high acidity, and when yields are kept low it features a fruity complexity with structured tannins and spicy notes.