The Best Wine You’ve Never Heard Of
You've never had a Bobal like this—because you've probably never had a Bobal.
Pasion de Bobal $19
So let’s start with a small confession—2 weeks ago I didn’t know there was a Spanish grape variety called Bobal. In fact when I found this bottle I assumed Bobal was either a person or a place that the winemaker evidently had some passion for. On the plus side I, by definition, had no preconceived notions of what the wines would taste like other than an overarching small concern about modern Spanish winemakers sometimes letting their grapes get too ripe and their wines too big on the basis that that’s what they think the international consumer wants.
In the glass, the wine presented as deep-coloured but more blueberry-tinged than mega purple. In the mouth there were lovely notes of dried dark cherry, cassis and some nice sides of spice. There appeared to be a fair bit of oak, but it’s well integrated. I would say I immediately knew it was a Bobal, but we both know that wasn’t true. In fact I would have thought it was a well-made French Grenache that sacrificed some for the boozy power that that grape exhibits in Spain for some Gallic finesse. This is a fine wine and it’s both a crowd-pleaser and one heck of a bar bet subject. My guess is I’d like it even more with less oak, but maybe given my aforementioned extensive Bobal experience I should cede to the wisdom of the winemaker, especially given that they can deliver this wine to our market for under $20.
And while it may have been my first run in with this grape, it definitely won’t be the last.