The red grape variety comes from France. Synonyms grouped alphabetically by country are Capbreton Rouge, Chauche Noir, Cruchenton Rouge, Sémillon Rouge, Terret d'Afrique, Troussé, Trousseau, Troussot, Trusiaux(France); Abrunhal, Bastardinha, Bastardinho, Bastardo, Tinta Lisboa(Portugal); Bastardillo Chico, Bastardo, Carnaz, Donzelino de Castille, Godello Tinto, María Ordoña, Maria Ordoñez, Maturana Tinta, Maturana Tinto, Maturano, Merenzao, Pinot Gris de Rio Negro, Roibal, Tinta, Tintilla, Tintollo Borgolona, Verdejo, Verdejo Negro(Spain). It must not be confused with the varieties Alfrocheiro, Cabernet Pepper, Castelão Francês, Donzelinho Tinto, Pinot Noir, Tinta de Lisboa or Tressot Noir, despite the fact that they appear to have synonyms or morphological similarities. Trousseau Noir is not a mutation of the white variety Maturana Blanca.
The exact origin is most likely in Eastern France in the Jura, where it was first mentioned in 1732 under the name Troussot. How it got from there to Spain and Portugal is unknown, but it has been cultivated there under many different names for many centuries. The fact that the Portuguese Bastardo is identical had already been claimed by the ampelographer Alexandre P. Odart (1778-1866) in 1854. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2007, there is a parent-offspring relationship with the Savagnin Blanc(Traminer) variety. Presumably Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are twins (same parents).
Probably natural crosses have given rise to the Plant de Mavault (with Gouais Blanc) and Tinta de Lisboa (with Síria) varieties. Trousseau Noir was a crossbreeding partner in the new varieties Bastardo Magarachsky and Royalty. Two colour mutations of Trousseau Noir are the Trousseu Gris (grey) cultivated in California and New Zealand under Gray Riesling and the Bastardo Roxo (pink) cultivated in Portugal.
The early-ripening, high-yielding vine is susceptible to botrytis and is also sensitive to frost. It produces dark-coloured, alcohol-rich but rather low-acid red wines. Trousseau Noir is, after Poulsard Noir, the second most important red wine variety in the French Jura, with which it is often blended. The stock is declining because it is increasingly replaced by Pinot Noir. In 2010 it only occupied 172 hectares.
In Spain, it is grown on 75 hectares in Galicia and Rioja. In Portugal, it is widely grown in the areas of Bairrada, Beiras, Dão, Douro and Madeira Island, where it is included in the famous Madeira, Mateus and Port wines and occupies 3,149 hectares. Other stocks are also said to exist in Ukraine and Moldavia, as well as in the USA in the states of California and Oregon. The total area under cultivation in 2010 was 3,431 hectares, with an upward trend. In the worldwide grape variety ranking this means 136th place.