Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spain's BOBAL--The Grape Sensation by Philip S. Kampe

Yes, you read it correctly. BOBAL--The Grape Sensation.

When you think of Spain and it's most popular grape, Tempranillo steals the show. But, if you dig a little deeper, you learn that Bobal, from the Utiel-Requena in the Province of Valencia, is the third most favored grape in Spain.

Utiel-Rquena is home to a new breed of winemakers. Creativity and foresight from the winemakers has propelled  the Bobal grape into orbit.

In fact, the nephew of Vega-Sicilia's winemaker, Issac Fernandez, lives in Utiel-Requena and makes exceptional wines using the Bobal grape. His wines create intense aromatics on the nose, followed by a spicy and  fruity chewy mixture on the palate.

The reasons why the Bobal grape and the Utiel-Requena region have gained recent popularity is many fold:
 The Bobal grape is native only to the Utiel-Requena province and is the third largest varietal in Spain.
 Dry farmed bush vines date back ninety years.
 Historically, Spain's oldest state winery, from 1335, is located in the Utiel-Requena.
 Organic certified wines exist.
 An abundance of single vineyard wines are produced.
 The province has 5,604 grape growers and 95 wineries.
 2,800 hours of sunlight per year.
Bobal represents 80% of all plantings in Utiel-Requena.
Tilted terraces favor the Mediterranean sea with altitudes from 1,960 to 2,950 feet.
 Modern Technology.
 New Winemaking Techniques.
 Excellent Price Quality/Ration.

The grape has made its way into the American market and has prompted a group of winemakers from Utiel-Requena to visit the states to publicize their wines through seminars and tastings.

Prseident Jose Luis Robredo of the DO Utiel-Requena points out that, " You will find DO Utiel-Requena in the inland plains of the Province of Valencia at 44 miles from the coast. It boasts a Mediterranean and Continental climate due to the elevation of 2,950 feet above sea level. Our wine region covers 85,000 acres of vineyards in nine municipalities:  Caudete, Camporrobles, Fuenterrobles, Requena, Siete Aquas, Sinarcas, Utiel, Venta Del Moro and Villargordo of Cabriel.  Utiel-Requena's winemaking culture prides itself on a wine tradition that goes back 2,700 years. Archaeological digs prove that wine production has been constant from the beginning of the Iberian age until the present day".

When I discussed the Bobal grape with President Jose Luis Robredo, he made the analogy that  Bobal is "an onion of a wine, layer after layer".

After our discussion, I made my way to the sampling tables and enjoyed wines from the producers: Aranleon, Cherubino Valsangiacomo-Bobal de San Juan, Cerrogallina, Choza Carrascal, Covinas, Iranzo, Pago de Tharsys, Vincola Requenense, Dominio de la Vega, Murviedro and Primum Bobal.

A picture is worth a thousand word.. Here are some from the tasting.


As you can see, Bobal is ever present and a grape all of us should sample during the course of the year.
Ask your wine merchant about Bobal and learn more about the grape, as I did, at

Bobal is the next big grape from Spain...

Philip S. Kampe


Adam R. said...

Eye opening grape. We bought four bottles to try this evening.

Nick Katin said...

You learn something new everyday. I had heard of it but didn't realise it was so widely planted. Can't wait to try it!

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