The grape was first cultivated in France in 1866 by Henri Bouschet as a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache. The Petit Bouschet grape was created by his father Louis Bouschet. The result was to produce a grape with deep color grape of higher quality than the Teinturier du Cher. Several varieties of Alicante Bouschet were produced of varying quality. The grapes high yields and easy maintenance encouraged its popularity among French wine growers, especially in the years following the Phylloxera epidemic. By the end of the 19th century there were Alicante Bouschet plantings in Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire Valley.
The grape was widely popular in the United States during the years of Prohibition. Grape growers in California's Central Valley found that the grape's pulp was so fleshy and juicy that fermentable juice could be retrieved even after the third pressing. In contrasts, wines made grapes like Chardonnay and Merlot typically only include the juice from the free run (before pressing) and first or second pressing. The grape's thick skin also meant that it could survive the long railway transportation from California to New York's Pennsylvania Station which had auction rooms where the grapes were sold. In 1928, one single auction lot of 225 carloads of grapes were purchased by a single buyer. The amount of grapes was enough to make more than 2,000,000 US gallons (7,600,000 L) of wine.
In France, the grape was historically a blending partner with Aramon but in recent times has been made more into its own varietal. However, planting of new vines has steadily declined. In some areas of France the grape is now extinct. The grape is still being actively grown in Portugal's Alentejo region where it prized for its good color, fruitiness and tannin levels. In Chile the grape is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and to make concentrated varietal wines. In California the grape was popular among home winemakers during Prohibition and still grown today in Napa and Sonoma counties. Other areas with notable Alicante Bouschet plantings include Algeria, Israel and parts of central and southern Italy. It's an important grape variety in southeastern Spain, under the local name garnacha tintorera, as it occupies some 3,000 hectares, mostly in the Almansa, Manchuela and Jumilla appellations.
Viticulture and winemaking
The grape is known for its deep dark color, more than 15 times the color of Aramon and twice the darkness of the Grand Noir de la Calmette. The grape produces high yields, an average of 80 hl/ha. It buds and ripens early to produce wines often with alcohol levels around 12%. The wines produced by the grape alone typically aren't of the highest quality and tend to be flabby, lacking character and complexity. The grape vine is prone to grape diseases like anthracnose and downy mildew. The grape leaves of the vine are unique in that they have patches of purple coloring.
Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs: He leaves medium-large, orbicular; bunch medium to large, cylindrical-conical, with a wing or simple, compact, medium berry, spherical, with thick skin covered with abundant bloom, yellow uniform . It prefers medium soil, deep enough, farming systems must be medium expansion, with extensive pruning. The production is abundant.
Diseases and adversity: He has Medium tolerance to the cold winter and spring, good resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew attacks the leaves is that the clusters of berries with good ability to not rot during the drying process.
Follows, by region, a list of all D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. where it is permitted to use this vine
- Morellino di Scansano - max. 15%
- Carignano Sulcis - max. 15%
Alicante Bouschet is also known under the synonyms Alicant de Pays, Alicante, Alicante Bouchet, Alicante Bouschet 2, Alicante Extra Fertile, Alicante Femminello, Alicante H. Boushet, Alicante Henri Bouschet, Alicante Nero, Alicante Noir, Alicante Tinto, Alicantina, Alikant Buse, Alikant Buse Bojadiser, Alikant Bushe, Alikant Bushe Ekstrafertil, Alikant Bushe Nr. 2, Alikant Genri Bushe, Alikante Henri Bouschet, Aragonais, Aragones, Arrenaou, Baga, Bakir Uezuemue, Barvarica, Blasco, Bojadiserka, Carignan Jaune, Cupper Grape, Dalmatinka, Garnacha, Garnacha Tintorera, Lhadoner, Kambuša, Moraton, Mouraton, Murviedro, Negral, Pe de Perdiz, Pe de Pombo, Petit Bouschet, Redondal, Rivesaltes, Rivos Altos, Roussillon, Rouvaillard, Sumo Tinto, Tinta Fina, Tinta Francesa, Tinto, Tinto Nero, Tinto Velasco, Tintorera, Tintorera de Liria, Tintorera de Longares, Tinturao, and Uva di Spagna.