Alicante is the local name for one of the world’s most widely planted grapes Grenache. Name Alicante betrays Spanich origins of the variety with the northern region of Aragon being its likely home. Another theory suggests that it is coming from Sardinia, where the grape known as Cannonau.
In terms of vinification Grenache is sometimes used to make a stand-alone varietal wine like Cannonau di Sardegna, frequently as a rosé like in Spain or Southern France, but most often as a base for red blends like French Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône, or GSM type of blends in Australia.
It ripens late, so needs hot and dry conditions. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but needs careful control of yields for best results. It tends to lack acid, tannin and color, that’s why is usually blended with other varieties. In Tuscany it is mostly used on the south of the coast, where it can be a minor part of local DOC wine, but recently vinified into high profile Supertuscan blends.
High sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including some reds of Roussillon such as Banyuls, basis of most Australian port, as well as some passito wines made in Tuscan Maremma.