2009 Alicante Bouschet Alegría Vineyards
The nose offers ripe blackberry with a touch of vanillin oak enveloped in freshly ground white and black pepper. A rich spicy texture and silky mouthfeel reveal a deep blend of blackberry, cherry, boysenberry, and plum. Cardamom and black pepper infuse spice into every layer of the wine and linger into the long finish.
Alicante Bouschet is a red-fleshed variety developed in the south of France in the 1860s when Henri Bouschet crossed Grenache and Petit Bouschet. (Most red-skinned grapes have white flesh.) It is inter-planted with Zinfandel in the oldest blocks of our Alegría Vineyards, and it usually plays an important role in our Alegría Heritage Vines Zinfandel.
October rains decimated our Zinfandel crop, but the thicker-skinned Alicante Bouschet remained in good condition. This unexpected loss presented us an opportunity to produce a stand-alone Alicante.
As far as we know, 2009 was the first time in 119 years that the Alicante was picked separately from the Zin. We have both of its parents in the vineyard, so we picked Petit Bouschet and Grenache along with the Alicante to make it a family affair.
We co-fermented the three varieties with a Rhone yeast in a small open top fermenter for ten days. We produced enough wine to fill four barrels and aged it for 20 months before bottling. After additional bottle age to soften the tannins, we are excited with the robust wine our old Alicante vines produced.