Bobal – Spain’s hidden gem of a grape

Published on August 11, 2019

Ever heard of Bobal?  Probably not. Until a few years ago, very few of the most ardent Spanish wine lovers would have done so.  Planted only in one small corner of Spain, it barely rated a mention in most wine books and even then was dismissed by commentators as a workhorse grape suitable only for bulk wine production.  However, over the last five years, Bobal has been revived by a small group of producers and is now attracting a growing band of followers.  The name Bobal is derived from bovale, or bull, as the bunches of grapes are said to be shaped like a bull’s head. It has been grown in southeast Spain since the 15th century. The vines survived and prospered in the harsh winters and baking hot summers of the Meseta, the great interior plateau of the Iberian Peninsula.

The vast majority of Bobal vines are to be found in the little known DO (Denominación de Origen) of Utiel Requena.  It is part of the province of Valencia, inland from the coast and the capital city. It is one of the least known Spanish DOs.

Bruno Murciano, one of the UK’s most well regarded Spanish Sommeliers, has pursued a lifelong dream to produce a range of wines made from Bobal in his native homeland of Utiel-Requena.  His wines are from organically grown vineyards at 800m, using artisanal methods with very little intervention in the cellar, whilst following the lunar biodynamic calendar.  His wonderful 2015 Bruno Murciano L’Alegria wine is available to members on the Winecroft club list.  It is an elegant and fresh interpretation of Bobal.  Fragrant, intense, notes of red cherry, sour strawberry, mixed with some floral and herbal notes (thyme, rosemary).  The palate is light, fresh, with good acidity, and a long finish.

Find out about Bobal, Spain’s hidden gem of a grape before the crowd.

Enjoyed this article? Why not share with your friends