A cross between the grapes Grenache and Petit Bouschet (which itself is a cross of ancient French varietals), Alicante Bouschet is known more for its color than any interesting flavors or aromas. Called a teinturier (literally translated as “dyer”) as it is one of few grapes that has a naturally pigmented juice, this grape is often used to add tannins and depth of color to blends of other grapes. Alicante Bouschet has a thick skin and high production. With the right care it has light, fruity aromas of red currants, leather and spices.
Created in France in the 19th century, today the Alicante Bouschet can be found in France, the Galicia region of northwest Spain and the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. A few growers in California treat the Alicante Bouschet as a premium varietal, with mixed results.