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Review: Bell Spring 2018 Alicante Bouschet

As we learned in our recent interviews of Bell Springs winery owner Nate Pruitt and winemaker Nic Compton, there are a lot of great things happening with Texas wine. The diurnal temperature swings of dry hot days and cooler nights create, in theory, the perfect weather for reds of the Portuguese and Spanish persuasion. So, we were excited to sit down with Bell’s 2018 Alicante Bouschet and see what it had to offer.

Deep purple in the glass. On the nose, lots of clove up front, smoke, wood, (but not oak, more of a hickory smoking wood), cocoa, and bramble fruit. Licorice, smoke, a tang like a sweet bbq sauce up front, cocoa, cedar, raspberry on the mid-palate, followed by a long finish of leather, vanilla, anise, and mace. Medium-plus body. The slightest bit hot at 15.5% but if you like big bold reds, you won’t mind.

We decanted this wine for an hour, but another hour would not have been out of line. Another 5 years in the bottle would likewise be perfectly appropriate. This wine would pair well with braised oxtails, BBQ, or chili.

We’ve had a lot of Alicante Bouschet, and while we have found decent examples from California, it is the Portuguese ones that make us really appreciate this grape. This wine combines the slightly higher ABV of a California Alicante Bouschet with the smoky finesse of the Portuguese standard.

Simply put, this wine is one of the most impressive Alicante Bouschets we have had the pleasure of tasting. Highly recommended, and we can’t wait to taste more of this grape from Texas.

Charted Details:

Wine: 2018 Alicante Bouschet

From: Bell Springs Winery, Dripping Springs, Texas

ABV: 15.5%

Price: $32

Rating: 95 points

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