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NorCal Wine Blog

Alicante Bouschet (aka Garnacha Tintorera, Alicante)

A very red grape with thick skin and red pulp that yields red juice, Alicante Bouschet tends to be used in blends to contribute color, tannin and complementary fruit flavor. Wines made from this grape alone would tend to be simple, course and lack acidity.

The grape was first created and widely planted in France, where it was cultivated in the 19th century by crossing Grenache and Petite Bouschet. The grape became very popular with growers in California during Prohibition. At that time, grape growers were not allowed to make wine for sale but were allowed to sell grapes to individuals who were still allowed by law to make wine for personal consumption. The thick-skin of the Alicante Bouschet enabled it to be shipped in bulk throughout the United States by train and arrive relatively unscathed.

Confusingly, both Alicante Bouschet and Grenache are sometimes referred to simply as Alicante. It is perhaps a more common moniker for Grenache globally. However, in California, it is always taken to mean Alicante Bouschet so we are going with that usage here.