What is Alicante Bouschet and where is it found?
Alicante Bouschet is a red grape with red flesh, one of what the French call "dyer" varieties because they add a deep colour to red wine. In Spanish you’ll find it referred to as Garnacha Tintorera, Tintorera being the Spanish word for "dyer".
It’s grown principally in Spain (c. 26,000 hectares), France and Portugal. In Spain you’ll find it in abundance in DO Almansa, but also in Valdeorras and Monterrei in Galicia, Manchuela, Valencia, Jumilla & Castilla La Mancha.
Alicante Bouschet’s main characteristics
Alicante Bouschet is a late budding, medium ripening variety which makes it ideal for Mediterranean and Mediterranean/Continental climates like Spain. Wines made from Alicante Bouschet tend to be full bodied and very dense, almost opaque in colour.
What does Alicante Bouschet taste like?
Flavour varies depending on how ripe the grapes are, but in general when people talk about Alicante Bouschet they associate it with ripe fruit flavours, or sometimes very ripe, or quite jammy flavours. Some talk about a slight smoky tinge to the wines. On the palate wines made from Alicante Bouschet tend to have a lot of structure (ie the combination of tannins and acidity in particular are clearly marked) and feel quite meaty. As a consequence, some winemakers like to use a little new oak with Alicante Bouschet to help tone down that aspect.
Where can I try some Alicante Bouschet?
If you live in Spain, and particularly in the south-east, it should be easy enough to find some single varietal examples of Alicante Bouschet. One we have tried and like a lot is Pago de los Balagueses Garnacha Tintorera from Bodegas Vegalfaro who produce a great range of Vinos de Pago just outside Requena in Valencia.