Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

Red Grapes, with red flesh.

Posted by Richard Foxall, Jun 23, 2012.

During the Rose virtual tasting, some folks started talking about the various ways to make rose.  (Bleed off wine early from red maceration, shorten contact between skins and wine, mix red and white, which is banned some places).  But someone said that all grapes have white flesh.  Almost perfectly true, but there is a very small group of grapes called teinturier that have both red skins and flesh.  Here's the wiki. An entry in the Wine Lover's Companion describes them (and adds a few varieties) as follows:

"Dark-skinned grapes that have red (rather than white) pulp and juice. (Most grapes have white pulp and juice and get their coloring from being in contact with the skins during FERMENTATION.) Teinturier grapes are often planted to be used as a BLENDING WINE to add color to such wines. Examples of Teinturier grapes are ALICANTE BOUSCHET, ROYALTY, and RUBIRED. Most Teinturier grapes have some connection to Alicante Bouschet."

Rubired and Royalty were hybridized at UC Davis; I've seen Rubired wines but had no interest in purchasing.  Alicante Bouschet itself was a cross of grapes in France, and the original grape may have been Teinturier du Cher, from the Cher region of France which pretty much gave up on growing grapes after the first big Phylloxera devastation of the 1870s.

Peter Mathis uses a little Alicante Bouschet in his grenache.  I'll let you know what I think when I drink it.  And Coppola apparently uses it to darken his zins.

Replies

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Reply by ps, Jun 23, 2012.

Thanks for the information.  I too had assumed all grapes had white pulp.  I'd be curious to know how the wine tastes.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 23, 2012.

Lenoir has red juice as well. It's mainly used for color and not flavor. Alicante Bouschet is also used as a food grade dye for USDA beef stamping.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 23, 2012.

OT, dude, you know way too much.  That's what I like about this place:  As nerdy as I get, someone will read it and outnerd me.

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Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 24, 2012.

I'm so annoyed I missed out on the Rose tasting, but some work cropped up at the last minute. I guess for the sake of generalization ease, virtually all black grapes have white flesh. I don't know why, perhaps for viticultural or marketing reasons, the Alicante Bouschet and Rubired experiments bombed in Australia and I'm pretty sure they aren't exactly making headways in terms of vineyard acreage. I have tried rubired out of tank, and found it rather thin pickings.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 24, 2012.

Funny you put up this thread Fox, though more so the title than content...I had a mini revelation tonight with cold smoked pork loin from Hungary (known as Karaj), and paired with 2008 Bordeaux it worked a charm. I rarely come accross wine pairings other than obvious ones, that seem to work for me.

Had some Rose earlier today, 2010 Epoch...actually thought it could stand to benefit from a little more bottle age, a bit much on the oak and acid, but still worked pretty well with the panini cafe (mediterranean) catered event.

Three cheers for the red fleshed grapes...

 

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Jun 24, 2012.

Alicante!  I knew it, I just couldn't think of the name while the virtual tasting was live haha.  Thanks for the follow up!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 24, 2012.

Seems like the teinturier line all kind of started with the presumed extinct Teinturier du Cher, and none of the crosses really took off, whether done in France or at UC Davis.  I started a thread about that elsewhere.

OT, would stamping the meat with grape dye count as marinating it? ;-)

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Reply by gregt, Jun 24, 2012.

"I'd be curious to know how the wine tastes."

Well, in Spain they have a grape they call Garnacha Tintorera, or Alicante, and you find it in, of all places, Alicante! Some people say that is identical with Alicante Bouschet and that seems to be the case, although there are some people who question that and who say it's yet another grape. It's generally used in blends but we import a wine that's 100% and there are a few of those around.

As far as taste, it's a hard call.  It doesn't remind you of anything in the Cab family and it completely lacks those herbal and green notes, so if you think of wines like Carinena and Garnacha and Monastrell, it's more similar to those.

As far as I know, Rubired is not made into much decent wine. It's mostly in cheap box wines and more importantly, it's used to make the powders that people add to amp up the color and tannins of their wines. And if you ever wonder how many people doctor up their wines, just look at all the Rubired that's grown and figure someone has to be buying it. It's something like the third or fourth most planted grape in CA these days!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 24, 2012.

According to this article http://winestars.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/the-amazing-rubired-grape-third-most-planted-varietal-in-california/ it's number three in California. So I guess it's been pretty successful in the wine business, in the way Adam Sandler is successful in movies.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 24, 2012.

ouch!

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Reply by EMark, Jun 26, 2012.

I've been incommunicado for the last week and am now just catching up on the Snooth Forum.

Topolos a Sonoma County winery, which I do not think exists anymore, used to bottle an Alicante Bouschet.  I rather liked it, but that was probably 30 years ago.  So, I cannot describe it.

Does red juice occur if and only if (sliding some math in here) the pulp is red?  I'd never considered this question before.  My recollection is that Petite Sirah produces red juice.  Does anybody know if that is true?  If so, is the Petite Sirah pulp red?

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Reply by outthere, Jun 26, 2012.

Nope, PS has pale pulp but extremely dark skin like Zinfandel and Syrah. It's berries are very small so the juice to skin ratio is pretty stacked. Therefor you get deep dark color and huge tannins.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 26, 2012.

OT puts that succinctly.  One thing I learned recently from Clay Mauritson and Mike Talty is that zinfandel has large berries and thin skin; as much as it tastes big, it's harder to get tannins and color into it.  Mike Talty warns buyers that his wines won't always appear super dark.  Guess he's not into that whole MegaPurple thing.

Basically, the variables in the grapes that produce colors are the color of the skin, size of berry (smaller berry has more skin to volume), and thickness of that skin--the color goes through the whole skin.  White/green grapes produce white wines in part because there's no benefit in longer skin contact, since the skins don't add color and can make the wines bitter.  Crushpad made a video where they left some marsanne on the skins. You wouldn't make a whole wine that way, and I think this is so out of the ordinary that it's a little misleading. But look at those Marsanne berries--some of them are actually kind of dark brown.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 26, 2012.

Correctamundo, Zinfandel is almost always blended with Petite Sirah to add structure. Most Zinfandel vineyards are interplanted with every 8th vine or so being PS. Out here in the RRV you find lots of field blend vineyards that are predominately Zin but have mixes of Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Cabernet, Mourvedre, Grenache, Muscadelle, Carignange, Syrah, Trousseau, French Columbard, Cinsaut, Charbono, Lenoir, Palomino, Chasseals, Tempranillo, Petite Bouchet Muscat and various unknowns . Close to the house you will find table grapes as well. It's fun to walk these properties and see all the different varieties that get blended to make up some really interesting wines.

In your first post you mentioned Rubired. The Fredericks Vineyard that I toured in May was originally planted in Rubired Cabernet and still has a few vines remaining. It is the oldest planting of Rubired in The US.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 26, 2012.

As OT notes, these are properties with houses--not wineries, actual living spaces in many cases.  Still run by families.  And the field blends are fun historical accidents.  Talty hasn't changed his vines since the ones that were on the land when he bought it.  He decides what to keep or not keep.  Most of the folks that I talk to blend carignane and PS into the Zin, Ridge most famously.  So much so at Ridge that they can't label it Zin anymore because it goes under the 75% threshold so often.

Those are some pretty off the beaten path varieties, and puts the lie to the idea that, at least in the DCV, Cali wines are all made according to textbooks and lack interest.  One favorite of mine is Dan Teldeschi's field blends, which have real variation from vintage to vintage and often have some mid-term+ aging potential. 

BTW, I nominate outthere for a mentor slot if he wants one.  His knowledge of what's going on in the vineyards is invaluable. What exactly are you doing outthere,. besides taking pix of tractors?

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Reply by outthere, Jun 26, 2012.

Ha ha, when I'm not screwing off I'm busy selling tools to people who fix stuff for a living. The nature of my mobile based business allows me the opportunity to see lots of the County and converse with lots of interesting people. My wine geekiness keeps me asking questions of ranch managers, growers, field techs and the like when I call on the wineries and vineyard mgmt sites. Don't go confusing me with someone who knows what they are talking about  ;-)

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 26, 2012.

So you deliver tools up to Rockpile? ;-) That's an interesting niche.

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Reply by EMark, Jun 26, 2012.

Thanks for the responses.  I find this kind of esoterica very interesting.

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Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Jun 26, 2012.

OMG!  You guys are such geeks!  :)

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 26, 2012.

Proudly so, Craig.  Although knowing about Teinturier grapes is pretty useless.  On the other hand, knowing what improves my Zinfandel is crucial.  And knowing what Dan Teldeschi has planted around his barn is rewarding, esp if it means he offers me some in the tasting room.


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