Things you need to know about Alicante Bouschet

Dec 05, 2014
Photo: Lizardry Images

Photo: Lizardry Images

There is less than a handful of producers of the little known and understood Alicante Bouschet wine variety Australia wide, with the most famous version coming from the Barossa.  Rosè like in its appearance, there is more to this variety than meets the eye.

Alicante Bouschet was developed in France in the 1800’s as a cross between Petit Bouschet & Grenache by Henri Bouschet  (Louis Bouschet, Henri’s father, created Petit Bouschet a few decades earlier).   It is a rare grape variety as it contains pigment in the flesh, juice and skin, referred to in French as ‘Teinturier”… A grape with red flesh.  Other Rose styles rely on skin colouration to give pink colour to the otherwise green juice, but Alicante’s beautiful pink hue comes from the juice, resulting in a completely unique wine! The final product has typical fresh red berry characteristics without the associated bitterness imparted by grape skins during the winemaking process.

The style of the of Alicante Bouschet is universally popular because it seems to bridge the gap in consumer taste.  Not too sweet, not too dry, just right.  Another example of hitting the wine flavour profile on the head,  would be the hugely popular Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir that has grown to now be almost ubiquitous on wine lists and liquor stores around the state.  Being all things to all people is an ideal situation for a product, whether it be a wine or anything else for that matter.

One of the rare few producers of this wine is Barossa locals David and Helen McArthur.  From their very small vineyard just outside of Nuriootpa they planted a little over a decade ago, they have just released their first vintage of the McArthur Park Alicante Bouschet 2014 with the help of distinguished ‘behind the scenes’ awarded winemaker Jo Irvine.  The limited production single vineyard wine recently made its way to the Fassina Tasting Panel where it was so loved, that it is now exclusive to Fassina Stores. Owner David McArthur reports, “We are delighted that Ross Fassina and his team have enough faith in us to take the entire vintage!”

McArthur Park Alicante Bouschet
McArthur Park Alicante Bouschet 2014 – $24.99ea
(Exclusive to Fassina Liquor)

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