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Alicante Bouschet 2011
This latest addition to Amphora’s varietal lineup, has long and interesting history in California. Alicante Bouschet was bred in France as a teinturier (tinting) grape, and is one of the few grapes with red flesh (most grapes have color only in the skins). In the old “mixed black” Zinfandel vineyards it was common to have few vines of Alicante to add complexity and color to the vintage. During Prohibition it was widely planted to supply the (legal) home-winemaking endeavors of thirsty Midwest and East Coast residents. During those years, thousands of rail-cars of Alicante and Petite Sirah were sent east. Those two varietals were particularly in demand because of their thick skins, which helped the grapes to survive the journey, and their great color, which allowed basement vintners to “stretch” their production greatly! Our 2011 Alicante is true-to-type, with a peppery, meaty profile accentuated by a grippy tannic structure. This is definitely a meal-time wine, and would “pop” when served with a hearty, wintry dish (braised lamb shanks come to mind…).