Deep ruby color; blackberry, black cherry, blackcurrant, plum, blueberry, leather, dark chocolate, smoke on the nose and palate.
Dry; smooth, fine-grained tannins; good acidity (3.6 pH). Nicely structured. Full body; rich and full in the mouth; dark fruits dominate; 100% alicante bouschet. Grapes hand-harvested and placed in small, shallow boxes. Manually sorted, then destemmed and gently crushed. Fermentation individually monitored in vats, followed by post-fermentation maceration to extract some tannin from the pips to complement tannins in the skins to add structure and aging ability. Alicante bouschet has moderate tannins. Eighty percent of the wine aged 14 months in second-year, 106-gallon French oak barrels. 14.5% ABV
Alicante bouschet is known as a finicky, diva grape. It is a cross of grenache and petit bouschet. Created by Henri Bouschet at Domaine de la Calmette in the French Languedoc in the 1850s. Petit bouschet, its own right, is a cross between aramon noir and an unknown red grape created by Henri’s father, Louis Bouchet.
While it originated in France, it flourished in Spain. Then the grape found its home in the Alentejo DOC of Portugal. Alicante bouschet delivers power and structure while maintaining freshness. The grape now comfortably positions itself as a player among the important red wines made in Portugal. The grape is a rare “teinturier” grape—it has red skins and red flesh. Alicante bouschet typically was used sparingly as a blending grape because of its serious, deep, dark color. While Symington use alicante bouschet in several blends, this is their first pure varietal wine made with the grape.
The grapes for this effort come from three mature vineyards—vines more than 25 years old—planted at 1,640 feet. The Symington family acquired the 511 acre estate in the Portalegre subregion of the Alentejo area of southern Portugal, east of Lisbon, in 2017. The Alentejo DOC is Portugal’s largest wine region in terms of production and sales. Symington’s purchase was the family’s first purchase outside of the Douro Valley. Winemakers for this effort included Charles Symington, Pedro Correia, and José Daniel Soares.
According to Rupert Symington: “Quinta da Fonte Souto is a wonderful terroir in one of the finest wine making sub-regions of Portugal. We are excited to know that the wines we have made at our estate near Portalegre are of the exacting quality standards that we aspire to in our top Douro estates, while displaying distinct characteristics of the local varietals and soils.The superb quality of this mountain vineyard combined with the success of the region is an ideal platform from which to launch our first red and white wines from outside the Douro.”
Symington Quinta de Fonte Souto Alicante Bouschet Tinto, Alentejo DOC 2018 is a smooth, rich, very approachable delight. Intense, dark colors. Ripe grapes from older vines make a nice introduction to a grape seldom encountered as a 100% varietal offering. No sharp edges, no tannic pucker. Pair with red meats—with its sweet-smokey character, a natural for barbecue; veal; spare ribs; rack of lamb; baby-back ribs and pork barbecue; barbecued and roasted chicken; comfort foods—meat-lover pizza, burgers, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs. $30-42