An important varietal in the production of reds from the Dão region of Portugal, Alfrocheiro Preto is an intriguing grape of misty origins. At one time thought to be a relative of Pinot Noir, today the birthplace of Alfrocheiro Preto is assumed to be Portugal, but the jury is still out. Also known as Tinta Bastardinha and Tinta Francesa, wines from this grape are noted for their velvety texture, intense spiciness and approachability when young. They also display inky depths of color and flavors of mint, flowers, black currants and fresh strawberries.
The Alfrocheiro Preto grows well in the Mediterranean style climate of the Dão in north central Portugal. The grape has been helped dramatically by Portugal’s inclusion into the EU in 1986. Instead of grapes going to the large co-ops for processing they are now sold to private companies which make wines with more distinction and sense of place.