Pizzato Reserva Alicante Bouschet 2016

£17.00

Perhaps with the exception of central and southern Portugal, the Alicante Bouschet grape is rarely found as a single varietal and indeed is not widely available here in the UK.

Furthermore, the ‘Ali B’ is distinctive in that its pulp consists of a purply-red juice, rather then the colourless form usually found in red grapes, thus making wines which have a very deep and intense colour.

Go Brazil previously imported Pizzato’s Ali B 2005 vintage (a few bottles remain – see Ali B 2005 ), however the 2016 is made in a more approachable and fruit-driven style, while still retaining a full body and sturdy tannins.

It was a proud moment to learn that the 2016 had been offered at the launch of Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson’s latest edition of their ‘World Wine Atlas’, back in September 2019.

Full tasting note to follow but see critic Tom Cannavan’s review below.

 

Description

This is another fabulous red produced by Flavio Pizzato, fifth generation winemaker at the family-run Pizzato winery situated in the Vale dos Vinhedos district of the Serra Gaucha hills in southern Brazil.

While Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and to a lesser extent Tannat are the red ‘workhorses’ of the vineyard here and in the surrounding area, Flavio is not afraid to experiment with lesser known grape varieties.

Here the Alicante Bouschet (a cross between the Grenache and Petit Bouschet varietals) comes from a small bloc, producing just 4300 bottles in 2016. Indeed, for several years in the mid 2000’s Pizzato was the only winery in Brazil producing Ali B. The grape is unusual in being one of the ‘teinturier’ varieties – that is, having a deep red flesh – so produces densely coloured wines, with high tannins and concentrated dark fruits.

(In similar vein, some Egiodola grapes are also grown, with a mere 2670 bottles produced in 2016).

Prominent Glasgow-based wine critic Tom Cannavan reviewed the Alicante Bouschet recently. Read his tasting note here: Alicante Bouschet