Bastardo is the Portuguese name for the French grape variety Trousseau Noir. This red grape is found not only in France, but also in other countries of Western Europe, and the largest Bastardo plantations are located in Portugal, where it is used to make the famous port and Madeira. Trousseau makes a strong red wine with a rich cherry color. A sweetish sourness, nuances of red forest berries, and sometimes (depending on the producer and soil) mineral notes are well felt in the drink. Bastardo red wine usually reaches 13% ABV or higher and has a high tannin content.
DNA studies prove that the variety originated in the French Jura region at least 200 years ago and is related to such varieties as Savagnen, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. One of the Trousseau Noir mutations, Trousseau Gris, is widely known in California as Gray Riesling. When Bastardo is crossed with the Georgian Saperavi grape, the Bastardo Magacharsky variety, popular in the Crimea, is obtained.
The name Trousseau comes from the Old French trusse (“bunch”, “bunch”) and is due to the shape of the bunch. However, much more interesting is the origin of the second name of the variety – Bastardo (bastard, bastard). There are two versions on this score.
The first says that the term is due to the “illegal” origin of the grape – the variety appeared as a result of random mutations and crosses, and not careful selection and cultivation. Another claims that it is this strong word that periodically breaks out from winemakers trying to save an already meager harvest. The fact is that this is a rather capricious variety: if you cut off the grape leaves, the berries will dry out and raisin in the sun. If you leave them, the crop is threatened with mold and gray rot.
Now the variety is gradually disappearing, due to its susceptibility to disease, instability to weather changes. The efforts spent on Bastardo do not pay off – the resulting wine, even with a stretch, cannot be classified as great or at least elite, in blends this variety can be painlessly replaced with cheaper and unpretentious analogues, for example, Pinot Noir .
Other variety names
The original Trousseau is known in different countries under almost a dozen names. The most popular (after Bastardo) include: Merenzao, Gros Cabernet, Malvoisie Noire, Verdejo Negro, Petite Sirah, Touriga, Malvoisie Noire.
Features of wine making technology
The Bastardo variety ripens best in hot and dry climates. In France, mainly fortified red and rosé wine is made from these small, tightly knocked berries, much less often – white, sparkling variations are also found.
In Portugal, as already mentioned, red grapes with a naturally high sugar content are used in port and Madeira blends. The Portuguese brought the variety to Australia, here it is used to make red and rosé table wines.
Bastardo is not a protected title. There is no strict code of rules prescribing a specific technology for making Bastardo wine. Most often, these grapes are added to a blend to increase the strength or sweetness of the drink. Some winemakers produce wine from pure Bastardo, but rather for their own sake rather than commercial gain.
Bastardo wine is rarely drunk young, but it does not last for decades. The average age is 2-3 years.
How to drink
Bastardo goes well with fried partridge, grilled sausages, baked lamb, steaks, hard cheeses. The drink is served in red wine glasses, pre-cooled to + 14-16 ° C.
Conceito (Portugal), Bostavan (Moldova), Adega Algueira (Spain), Ponte da Boga (Spain) – the last two producers call the wine Merenzao. Among domestic producers, Bastardo Massandra and Stary Krym can be distinguished.