Abouriou: The Unheralded Virtuoso of the Vineyard


Abouriou, often the unsung hero in the vast world of viticulture, is a grape variety as mysterious as it is intriguing. Known for its deep colour and robust character, this lesser-known varietal is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by wine enthusiasts. Let’s embark on an exploration of Abouriou – a wine that tells a tale of rich flavours, rustic charm, and a whisper of vinous intrigue.

Primary Flavours

Diving into a glass of Abouriou is like embarking on a sensory adventure. It offers a bouquet of dark fruits like blackberries and plums, complemented by earthy undertones and a hint of spice. There’s a rustic robustness to it, evocative of an evening in a countryside vineyard.

Taste Profile

Abouriou Abouriou Abouriou
Aspect Rating out of 5 Characteristic
Sweetness 🍷 Dry, with a secretive whisper of dark berries
Body 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Full-bodied, as rich as a tapestry in a medieval castle
Tannins 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Bold and assertive, like a knight's armor
Acidity 🍷🍷🍷 Balanced, adding a lively flourish to the palate
Alcohol by Volume 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Usually around 13-14%, as warming as a hearth's fire

Growing Regions

Abouriou is primarily cultivated in Southwest France, especially in the areas of Lot-et-Garonne and Tarn-et-Garonne. The warm climate of these regions is ideal for Abouriou, helping the grapes develop their full-bodied and richly flavoured profile.

This grape’s ability to produce deeply coloured wines has also made it popular in warmer regions around the world, including parts of California. There, similar to its native French environment, Abouriou benefits from the heat, which is essential for bringing out its robust and vibrant flavours.

Vineyards in these areas value Abouriou for its ability to add intensity and depth to their wine selections.


Originally from France, Abouriou’s history is as rich as its flavours. It was nearly lost to history following the phylloxera epidemic that destroyed many European vineyards in the 19th century. However, it has experienced a revival thanks to modern winemakers who appreciate its unique qualities.

Historically used mainly for blending because of its deep colour and full body, today’s vintners are increasingly bottling it as a standalone wine to highlight its distinct character, showcasing a shift from traditional to contemporary winemaking practices.

Serving Temperature

The ideal serving temperature for Abouriou is slightly cooler than room temperature, specifically between 16-18°C (60-65°F). Serving it at this temperature helps to enhance the richness of the wine while ensuring that the flavours are expressed fully and clearly.

This moderate chill prevents the alcohol from overpowering the wine’s complex profile and keeps the tannins in balance, allowing you to appreciate the depth of flavour in every glass.


For the best tasting experience, this wine should be served in a large red wine glass. This type of glass features a generous bowl that allows for ample swirling, aerating the wine and releasing its rich array of aromas. The shape of the glass concentrates these aromas at the rim, enhancing your ability to enjoy the subtle nuances of the wine’s bouquet before taking a sip.

Decanting and Ageing

Decanting is beneficial for this wine, particularly when the wine is young. By transferring the wine to a decanter and allowing it to breathe for about an hour, the wine’s tannins soften, and its flavours mellow out. This process not only makes the wine smoother and more pleasant to drink but also lets it express its full complexity, enriching your tasting experience.

Food Pairings


  • Grilled Barramundi with Lemon Butter Sauce: The rich, flaky texture of barramundi, enhanced by a creamy lemon butter sauce, pairs beautifully with Abouriou’s bold berry flavours and subtle spice, balancing the dish’s richness while complementing its delicate flavours.
  • Salt and Pepper Squid: The crispiness of the squid seasoned with a hint of spice is an ideal match for Abouriou’s robust profile, where the wine’s vibrant acidity cuts through the dish’s fried exterior, enhancing the seafood’s natural flavours.

Vegetarian Flavours

  • Grilled Vegetable Skewers with Basil Drizzle: A medley of seasonal vegetables grilled to perfection, drizzled with a fresh basil sauce, harmonizes with Abouriou’s earthy notes. The char on the vegetables brings out the wine’s smoky undertones.
  • Pumpkin and Spinach Pie: The sweet, creamy texture of pumpkin combined with the earthiness of spinach complements the fruity and spicy elements of Abouriou, creating a cozy and satisfying pairing.

Australian Dishes

  • Beef and Shiraz Pie: The rich, meaty flavours stewed with a hint of Shiraz wine find a robust companion in Abouriou, whose tannic structure supports the pie’s depth while its fruit undertones echo the wine-infused gravy.
  • Kangaroo Steak with Wild Berry Compote: The gamey yet tender qualities of kangaroo steak topped with a berry compote enhance the dark fruit flavours of Abouriou, making for a uniquely Australian dining experience that showcases the wine’s versatility with game meats.

Cheese Pairings

  • Aged Cheddar with Quince Paste: The sharpness of the cheddar paired with the sweetness of quince paste brings out the best in Abouriou’s tannic backbone and fruity depth, offering a harmonious blend of flavours and textures.
  • Creamy Camembert with Lavender Honey: The soft, rich Camembert drizzled with aromatic lavender honey complements the floral and slightly spicy notes of Abouriou, creating a luxurious cheese course that tempts the palate.

Dessert Delights

  • Chocolate Ganache Tart: The richness of dark chocolate ganache pairs decadently with Abouriou’s bold, fruity character, where each sip of wine cuts through the dessert’s sweetness, enhancing its chocolatey depth.
  • Pavlova with Passionfruit and Berries: The light, airy meringue of Pavlova, topped with tart passionfruit and mixed berries, complements the lively acidity and fruit-driven nature of Abouriou, providing a refreshingly sweet end to any meal.

These pairings highlight Abouriou’s ability to adapt across a diverse range of flavours, from the robustness of grilled meats to the delicate nuances of vegetarian dishes, but also enhance the overall dining experience by integrating the wine seamlessly into various culinary traditions. Whether enjoyed in a laid-back setting or a formal dining affair, Abouriou is a versatile choice that brings depth and character to the table.

Wine Labels

Exploring different expressions of Abouriou through various labels can provide insight into this unique varietal. Below is a table showcasing some noteworthy brands:

Abouriou Abouriou Abouriou
Country Wine Label Varietal Name & Style
France Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais - Dry Red
France Chateau Beausejour Abouriou - Dry Red
France Clos Siguier Cuvée Tradition - Dry Red

Note: These brands are known for their quality representation of Abouriou, offering a range of styles that highlight the varietal’s unique character.


Abouriou is more than just a wine; it’s an exploration into the lesser-known but equally enchanting aspects of French winemaking. It’s about uncovering hidden treasures, enjoying the richness of flavour, and appreciating the unique. When you next have the opportunity to taste Abouriou, embrace the chance to explore this unheralded but captivating varietal.

Where does the name Abouriou originate from?

The name “Abouriou” is derived from its region of origin in France. It’s a traditional varietal specific to South West France, particularly around the Lot-et-Garonne area.

Is Abouriou a red or white wine?

Abouriou is a red wine grape, used for making richly coloured, medium-bodied red wines.

What are some interesting facts about Abouriou?

• Abouriou is a rare red grape variety, primarily found in South West France.
• Known for its early ripening and resistance to mildew.
• Typically produces deeply coloured, medium-bodied wines.
• Flavour profile often includes dark berries, plum, and occasionally earthy or spicy notes.

What wines is Abouriou similar to?

Abouriou is similar to other medium-bodied red wines with fruity profiles, such as Gamay and early-ripening Merlot, known for their approachable, fruit-forward character.

Is Abouriou known by any other names?

Abouriou is also known regionally as “Early Burgundy” and “Gamay Beaujolais,” although these names are less commonly used. These alternative names sometimes reflect its early ripening characteristic or resemblance to other grape varieties.

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