In the mid-19th century, the Bobal grape proved resistant to the deadly vine disease Phylloxera and plantings increased dramatically in Valencia. Today, Bobal has been revived and is being carefully handled by a small group of producers who respect the high-quality wine the varietal can produce.
Since the 19th century the Familia Bastida has owned wineries throughout Spain, and the family's enthusiasm for their vineyards in Utiel-Requena demonstrates a deep commitment to plots of heritage vines that produce terroir-driven examples of the best values Spain has to offer. Winemaker Juan Miguel Benitez studied oenology and viticulture in the City of Requena where he fell in love with the Bobal grape. Upon his return to his hometown Jumilla, he joined the Bastida family's operation and has spent the last 20 years making some of the country's best everyday Monastrell. He and the family decided it was time to explore Bobal's potential, and support Miguel's passion to work with the varietal.
The Familia Bastida's estate-grown Biftu Bobal is harvested from low-yield, non-irrigated, sustainable vineyards where organic practices are the norm. These selected plots of old, goblet-pruned vines struggle in calcareous-clay soil with gravel, and a sandy loam subsoil. All grapes are handpicked and sorted, and the average vine age is 55 years old. Cold soaks takes place over a 2- to 3-week period followed by a very slow and cool fermentation process. The wine undergoes malolactic conversion in medium toast 225 liter French and Hungarian oak barrel, where it ages for 5 months before release. This 2015 is a medium-bodied charmer with pure Mediterranean warmth and ripeness. Expressive blueberry, blackberry and dark plum mingle with rustic, dried earth, leather, and underbrush to offer the perfect mid-week pairing with homemade chili, Paella Valenciana, or Five Guys take out. If you're looking for that second or third bottle to open with friends, look no further. Its generous fruit and attractive perfume will make sure the wine stands out as a killer value no matter what you've selected from the cellar for your guests.