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At a glance

Country of Origin: France
Region of Origin: Southwest France
Typical Product: Red
Structure: Heavy
Climate: Hot to Very Hot
Soil Type: Clay
Serving Temp: 58 - 63F
Ageability: 3 to 6
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:


Relative to many wine grapes, Alicante Bouschet is a newcomer on the wine scene whose origins are well documented.  In 1824, Louis Bouschet crossed Aramom with Tienturier du Cher creating Petite Bouschet.  Aramom was very widely planted in France because, is it is a good cropper.  The problem is that when it is allowed to produce heavily, Aramom becomes light in color and flavor creating a characterless, tasteless Varietal.  Tienturier du Cher on the other hand is a tienturier Varietal meaning that it products dark color juice rather than the clear juice which almost all other red Varietals produce.  In 1865 or 1866 his son Henry, crossed Petite Bouschet with Grenache and created Alicante Bouschet.  Just like its parent Tienturier du Cher, Alicante Bouschet is often used as a blending agent to add color to less robust wines.

When Alicante Bouschet came to the United States isn't known but its main claim to fame seems to be that it was easy to ship during Prohibition so these 'Table Grapes' became the backbone of a thriving underground home wine making industry.  Alicante Bouschet has been on the decline since the end of Prohibition.

Alicante Bouschet is a heavy producer like many of its ancestors and like them is also a tienturier grape.  It has thick, red skins, which add additional color to the dark juice.  It buds and ripens early so late rains can be a problem and it doesn't achieve higher sugar levels due to the early ripening so it is lower alcohol.  It does best in hot climates.  In cooler regions, it is higher in acid.

Alicante Bouschet has a small number of plantings in California.  Bray Vineyards in the California Shenandoah Valley AVA produces it as does the Madera County winery, Papagni.  In Northern California, Alicante Bouschet is produced by several Sonoma County wineries.

Alicante Bouschet should be served around from 57 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  The lower end of this allows the wine to warm slightly in the glass as it is enjoyed.  It is not heavy in tannins and usually not heavily acidic which lessens it ability to mature.  Alicante Bouschet should not be aged more than 6 years after vintage.

* used in California

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Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
Bray Vineyards
2008  $18.00   
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