Here is something a little different: a single varietal wine made from Spain’s third-most planted, though not commonly recognized, grape variety — Bobal (pictured below). This native variety is grown in the Valencia province — in particular, the Utiel-Requena D.O. — where it has long served as a base for cheap bulk blended wines thanks to its deep pigmentation and fruity flavor profile. In winemaker Isaac Fernandez’s hands, the variety presents beautifully on its own. Sourced from 60 year-old(+) vines at high elevations, his 2012 offers aromas of blackberry, fig, and baking spices followed by flavors that suggest ripe black cherry, brandied fruit, and sweet cured tobacco — all accented by notions of incense, leather, and charcoal over a long, lush finish. This is a full-bodied and dry red, with mild acids and tannins; it aged for six months in French (70%) and American (30%) oak barrels. It is a muscular wine that will complement barbecued, flamed-grilled, or spit-roasted meats, fish, and vegetables and other hearty fare. A terrific value. (14% ABV)
Availability: Isaac Fernandez’s Bovale is imported by Elite Wines, in Washington, D.C. For local availability, visit them virtually at www.elitewines.net. We discovered the wine at Jaleo restaurant in Crystal City, Virginia (www.jaleo.com/crystal-city).