Last week I had the pleasure of discovering Alicante Bouschet, a rare wine in California these days that was very popular during Prohibition. Today I get to talk about tasting Alicante Bouschet, because I got to do a tasting this past weekend of Alicante Bouschet and Grenache, one of the grapes used in 1866 to create the grape Alicante Bouschet.
The Wines We Tasted
The Alicante Bouschet was made by Chouinard Winery located in Palomares Canyon between Castro Valley and the Livermore wine country. It was a 2016, and the grapes were from Lodi. Sadly, Chouinard Winery doesn’t have any tasting notes about this wine. All they say is that they sell it for $24/ bottle and $259.20/case. They describe their winery like this: “Our wines reflect the personal family flavor of Chouinard Vineyard and Winery. A little laid back. The winery has an enviable track record of producing some of the Livermore Valley and California’s finest Zinfandels and Chenin Blancs. Along with these ‘flagship wines,’ Chouinard Vineyard is also known for, Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec, Ice Wine and Barbera.” Interesting that they don’t even mention Alicante in their description. I’d love to try their other wines.
The Grenache we tried was a 2014 D66 from France. It is actually a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Carignan. Wine Advocate gave it 93 points to and described it as having blueberry, spice and black currant notes. Wine.com described it by saying, “This inky colored, downright sexy 2014 offers terrific notes of blueberries, blackberries, violets and chalky minerality.”
The Tasting Experience
On the nose front, the Alicante had a deep, dark nose that took a long time to come out. The Genache’s nose never came out. It was quite weak. If you’ve tried Grenache, I’d love to know what your experience was on the nose front.
On the tasting front, I have to say that the two wines tasted quite similar to me. Both wines were fruity, earthy and a little bit rough. The Alicante Bouschet’s fruit tasted a bit darker to me than the Grenache’s fruit. Both wines had medium tannins and medium acidity. The Grenache had a bit more tannin and acidity than the Alicante.
The Bottom Line on Tasting Alicante Bouschet and Grenache
The four of us that did the tasting all agreed that we didn’t need to retry either of these wines. We liked the Alicante Bouschet better than the Grenache because it was a bigger, badder wine. But still nothing to write home about. Interestingly, the day after our tasting, the Grenache had opened up a bit and tasted a lot better. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to retaste the Alicante, because we finished it during our tasting.
Given what I ready about Portuguese Alicante Bouschet, I’m eager to do more tasting. Unfortunately (or fortunately J), that will likely require a trip to Portugal, since I can’t seem to find any here.
Are you up for tasting Alicante Bouschet? If so, I’d love to talk to you.
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