Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Wine Wednesday: BOOM, Bobal!

On this fine, sunny Wine Wednesday I have decided to bring you a mega-hot Spanish wine I tried for the first time a few months ago - it's a wine you'll probably want to know more about in time for barbecue season. Introducing...

The Bobal Grape

Bobal is a red grape which is native to the Valencia region in south-east Spain - specifically to the smaller Utiel-Requena region which is part of Valencia - and although you may not have heard of it, it is one of the country's most planted grape varieties alongside the better-known tempranillo.

It was for a long time used in blends, but it is finally starting to get a bit of the limelight for itself, and is being made into single-varietal red wines.

I'm told its name comes from the latin bovale, meaning 'bull' - apparently, this is because the grape bunches look like a bull's head, but this is also fitting because the grape tends to produce big, meaty wines of lovely intensity and power.

That said, it can also produce wines with features in common with lighter, juicy, easy-drinking monastrell wines, with alcohol content as low as 12%, but you do still tend to find a kind of earthy, rustic character to it.

There's not tons of single-varietal Bobal on the UK market at the moment, but here's three varied Bobal wines to tickle your tastebuds:

Vox Populi Bobal, currently £8.99 (usually £11.99) at Majestic

It's 14%, its muscular, and I certainly wouldn't want to make this wine angry. Big, beefy tannins and dark, concentrated black fruit - but like all good movie villains, this wine does have a slightly gentler side, with a floral whiff about it that adds yet another dimension. Give this beast some smoky meats to play with and you won't be disappointed.

Pasion de Bobal, £11.99 at Virgin Wines

This is the movie villain's slightly softer (but still menacing) brother, with a nice six-month stint in oak rounded some of the edges and adding a silky spiciness. It still packs full flavours, despite it's slightly lighter 13.5% alcohol, and is a match for a hearty lamb dish.

Red Boar Bobal, £6.75 at Oddbins

A boar is pretty much the perfect image for the bobal grape - rustic, meaty and broad, a lover of berries and with a whiff of forest floor. This example is much lighter at 12%, but still has a little brawn about it, and is a less complex but still tasty midweek treat at a very pleasing price.

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