Have you heard of the “Rubired” grape?  At this year’s Unified Grape and Wine Conference 2011 in Sacramento, the audience was amazed to hear that Rubired (17%) is now the third most planted grape in California behind Cabernet Sauvignon (23%) in first place, and Chardonnay (18%) in second place. 

Rubired is a hybrid grape developed at UC-Davis in the 1950’s.  It is a cross between Alicante Ganzin and Tinta Cao.  It is very easy to grow and does quite well in the hot terroir of California’s Central Valley.  Due to its relationship to Alicante Bouschet, it produces a dark red/purple juice which is used to add color in many jug wines.

Last year at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium 2010, I was able to taste some wine made from this grape.  However, it is rare to find it used for wine.  In general, Rubired is used to produce grape concentrate, but can also be used as a blender in red wines.  As a wine, I found it to be full-bodied with ripe berry fruit, and big soft tannins.  In fact, I thought I was tasting an Alicante Bouschet.  Here’s to discovering new grape varietals!

Guest Author and WWS Member:  Liz Thach