Alicante Bouschet – Ziveli 2016

Alicante Bouschet – Ziveli 2016

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 07:06 -- johnk

Where To Find Alicante Bouschet?
Some grapes came to be by nature. Alicante Bouschet was the result of a science experiment. Over its 150-year history, Alicante Bouschet has always been in the background, sort of secret ingredient to embolden other red wines, or to make bathtub booze during prohibition. If you peel back the skin of an Alicante Bouschet grape, you’ll see what separates it from the rest. Unlike other grapes, which have clear flesh, Alicante Bouschet has red flesh. When you enjoy this wine grape be prepared for purple teeth!
Lovers of Big Reds - Look to Alicante Bouschet.

In the mid-1900s, many French and American producers realized that Alicante Bouschet wasn’t a must for rich colored wines. Winemakers no longer needed the grape’s rich color, so growth declined. Don’t worry, little orphan Alicante Bouschet – the Iberian Peninsula was happy to adopt this grape. Both Portugal and Spain have planted more Alicante Bouschet over the last 50 years. Honestly, it’s probably better suited to the climates in these two countries anyway. This wine grape is one of the few red grapes with red flesh, Alicante Bouschet is an oddity that makes big, juicy red wines. Today, Alicante Bouschet is finally bottled on its own. Lovers of rich, fruit-forward reds like Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon take note: Alicante Bouschet is quite the find! 

Alicante Bouschet ripens late and loves hot, dry areas with lots of sun.  Just under 1,000 acres of Alicante Bouschet grow in California, particularly in the warm, central valley regions of Lodi and Madera. Perhaps American producers will champion this grape once again and one Fresno winery has taken some serious steps in the right direction with this grape. Allow me to introduce Ziveli 2016 Alicante Bouschet. Ziveli Winery has used Alicante Bouschet to produce a luscious, rich, and full-bodied red wine to produce this red wine lovers delight. 

Ziveli 2016 Alicante Bouschet is big, bold, and unquestionably fruit-forward, with flavors ranging from fresh to jammy blackberries, blueberries, black cherries, and more. It has spicy, smoky flavors, along with sweeter tones of dark chocolate, baking spice, and a hint of vanilla bean. The intense smoky-sweet flavors of Alicante Bouschet beg for equally intense foods including barbecue, teriyaki, carne asada and grilled vegetables. Alicante Bouschet is a big, heavy, tannic red wine, and the default for most people on that is steak, some sort of big red meat like a porterhouse or prime rib or roast beef. You will find this wine pairs well with Marinara sauce – the fresh acidity from the tomato can cut through the heaviness of the wine quite nicely.

Ziveli Winery is the creation of the Nale Family in Fresno, CA. The family has grown grapes for decades and it was John & Roni Nale’s son Cole that suggested the family take up crushing grapes themselves. The winery lays along a bend in the San Joaquin River that cradles lush vineyards where the history of Croatian winemaking springs to life in the Central Valley of California. For the Nale family this is home. The family’s connection to the old country brings the coastal heritage of Croatia’s wines to the most fertile farmland in the world and happily not far from where this wine-lover lives. Ziveli wines have European roots with a decidedly Californian twist. In fact, the names of the Nale family wines are reflective of the family’s connection to the San Joaquin Valley and the important role the river plays with the vineyard.  Ziveli (pronounced zhe vah lee’), is the Croatian word for “Cheers”.

Each time I have visited Ziveli Winery I have been able to chat with a couple of the Nale family members. You will likely meet John, Roni, Cole, or Caleb when you stop in their tasting room. Ziveli Winery is located at 5840 N Biola Ave., Fresno, CA 93723. For more information on the winery and the wines produced READ MORE HERE