Alicante Bouschet is a grape variety from the end of the 19th Century, born in a laboratory from the cross between the Grenache and and Petit Bouschet varieties, by the hand of the French botanist Henri Bouschet, with the objective of creating a grape of intense colour, fruity, easy to grow and highly productive.
It is one of the few teinturier grapes in the world. Its deep red colour comes not only from the skin, but also the flesh, giving the wines a deeper darker colour.
Making history in the wine world, especially during Prohibition, when grapes were sold all over the country with a manual on how “not” to turn grapes into wine, by the end of the 20th Century it began losing ground to other more elegant international grape varieties.
Introduced in Portugal at the beginning of the 20th Century, it was in the terroir of the Alentejo that the Alicante Bouschet found the ideal conditions for its development. Cold Winters and hot Summers, deep rich soils, with water resources during all of the growth cycle.
Widely used in blends of wines of this region, it produces wines of excellent quality, with a soft texture and attractive colour, giving them also a great capacity for ageing.
The time at which it is harvested, and, and the way it ages, influences its aromas. If picked prematurely, it will be aggressive and unappealing tannins will stand out. Picked ripe, it will produce wines of a dark colour which manifest notes of black fruit, jam, liqueur, wild herbs, with a crunchy acidity and robust tannins.
When aged in wooden barrels, the outstanding aromas are cocoa, black chocolate and exotic spices; it may further develop hints of leather, game and balsamic as it ages.
The ideal pairing for Alicante Bouschet is red meat, as tannins and acids in the wine match perfectly with the wine.