Alicante Bouschet

aka Alicant de Pays, Alikant Bushe, Aragones, Garnacha Tintorera, etc…


The Alicante Bouschet grape was created by French father and son vine breeders; the Bouschet’s. Louis Bouschet (father) wanted to a grape that produced a darker color, deeper flavor and higher alcohol content. In order to get the type of grape he coveted he crossed the famous and widely planted Aramon with an ancient red-juiced vinifera variety, Teinturier du Cher. His creation was dubbed the Petit Bouschet. Forty-one years later, his son Henri furthered his father’s work and crossed the Petit Bouschet with the Grenache grape; resulting in the Alicante Bouschet.

Places It Is Grown

In Europe, the grape is grown in France, Portugal Spain and Italy. In France, the regions boasting the largest production of the grape variety are Cognac, Languedoc and Provence. In some areas of France the grape has all but vanished due to a lack of new vine plantings.

In Portugal, the grape is actively being grown, as it is prized for its color fruitiness and tannin levels. The region most notable for its production of the Alicante Bouschet is the Alentejo region. The regions of Spain where production is most prevelant are the Almansa, Manchuela and Jumilla regions. In Italy it is grown in parts of central and southern Italy.

Algeria and Isreal also grow the Alicante Bouschet variety of grape.

Chile, the largest producer of wines in South America, grows the grape.

The grape saw great popularity in the United States during prohibition. While the enthusiasm has waned over time various regions throughout the U.S. still grow the grape as a varietal.

Properties Of Grape

The Alicante Bouschet grape is so widely popular due to its ability to add color, a deeper flavor and higher alcohol content when added to other grapes lacking in those areas. Other qualities boasted by the Alicante Bouschet are its ability to quickly bud, ripen and survive transportation (i.e. travel from California to New York during Prohibition). This allows viticulturists to grow vast amounts of this grape to be used as a blender grape in Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) and Rose (Australia). Juice can also be extracted beyond the second pressing. (Other varieties, such as Merlot and Chardonnay, are pressed at most 2 times with a lot of yield coming from free run.

As a stand-alone grape with which to produce wine, the Alicante Bouschet had been deemed weak. It “lacks structure” and thus is more readily used as a complimentary ingredient in other wines instead of the star. Other problems generally associated with this variety of grape are its susceptibility to mildew, and disease (canker/anthracnose).

Partnering with Food

Rule #1: Matching the alcohol level and body of the wine to the heaviness of the food should make for a proper pairing every time.

The characteristics of this wine are high acidity. As a result you will want foods that offset the acidity. Due to the grape being of the red variety, grilled meats will be an obvious choice. You will also want to look for a dish with a tomato-based sauce and the acidity in the wine will work well with the acidity of the wine.

Below are a list of foods and dishes that should pair well with Alicante Bouschet:

  • Chicken Liver Salad
  • Grilled Andouille Sausage
  • Rabbit with Mustard Sauce
  • Partridge with Cabbage
  • Provencale Daube of Beef (Stew)
  • Grilled BBQ Beef Ribs
  • Lamb Tagine with Dried Fruits
  • Veal Tagine with Olives
  • Vegetable Couscous
  • Mutton Couscous

Restaurants With These Types Of Dishes

To view restaurants that serve appetizers, entrees and other dishes that partner well with this grape type, click here….

About americanwinegrape

American Wine Grape Distributors Inc. AKA A. Silvestro Wine Grape, has been in business for over 5 decades. We are wine enthusiasts just like you and want to share in that enjoyment. This is why we are developing a new and exciting platform for growers, restaurants, sommeliers and home winemakers. Our goal is to bring the wine community together and is the driving force behind our new blog.

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