About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alicante Bouschet: Getting the bootleggers grape right!

Alicante Bouschet, created from a cross with Grenache and Petite Bouschet, is the only red flesh grape in the vitis vinifera family. It is a grape that produces high yields. When made into wine, its red flesh contributes to the production of a deep rich red color.

Both these factors contributed to it being cultivated highly in California during prohibition. California vineyards would sell the grapes and enclose warnings that these grapes could produce alcohol if not handled properly. The warnings would elaborate in detail the horrible steps that could result in alcohol (avoid crushing the grapes as this could result in the release of fermentable juices, etc.) At the same time, bootleggers loved Alicante Bouschet for its deep color because it could be watered down and still appear to be good red wine. After prohibition, acreage under cultivation fell dramatically and it returned to infrequent use as a blending grape to add color.

Alicante Bouschet has been utilized for a long time as a blending grape in Europe, particularly in France where it originated. It has generated some good single varietal wines, particularly in Portugal. Italy and Spain are additional countries where it has had long and sustained, though not prominent, usage.

New life and interest was breathed into this grape last year when Francis Ford Coppola added a magenta label to his diamond series and released his Alicante Bouschet. Coppola’s effort belied the grape’s reputation in this country of being incapable of producing a good wine. Coppola Alicante Bouschet is rich, complex with red and black fruit notes (including a touch of cranberry) and a light spiciness leading to a long lingering finish. It was, and is, a welcome addition to the Coppola portfolio. By sourcing some old vines (in the neighborhood of 85 years) caring attention to horticulture and winemaking the folks at Coppola have paid tribute to a unique grape with unique flavors, not to mention a unique story.

It may well be a tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather as well. It is known that Agostino made his own wine from Alicante Bouschet and that Francis’s interest in wine dates back to childhood memories of helping his grandfather bottle the family wine.

Good wines with unique flavors that have great stories offer great opportunities to explore and broaden your wine horizons. If you haven’t yet tried it, sample the Coppola Alicante Bouschet. For the best enjoyment, The Wine Guy recommends you chill this wine lightly and decant for forty minutes or longer.

This is a unique wine, worthy of sharing with wine friends as you also share its storied background.

Learn more about Alicante Boushet on the Foodista site by clicking below:
Alicante Bouschet Grapes on Foodista

1 comment:

  1. Alicante Bouschet, ..... is the only red flesh grape in the vitis vinifera family.

    No it is not, there are not many teinturier vinifera varieties, but there are several