BOBOS, Hispano+Suizas Launch their New Bobal!


Bobos Finca La Borrach 2011.

Bobos Finca La Borracha 2011.

When Hispano+Suizas launched in 2006, the jointly Spanish/Swiss owned bodega with a high emphasis on the quality of its products, the owners could hardly have expected or dreamed about the spectacular trajectory the bodega would take. Consistently high   scores in the Penin guide for their cavas, backed up by high scores in Parker, then the Pinot Noir Cava Tantum Ergo being named best Cava in Spain finally has finally led to the bodega being named the best in Spain by contributors to Verema, the countries most important wine website with its many forums.

The bodega released a Pinot Noir/ Bobal blend as a dulce a couple of years ago and Bobal has been included in the red wine Quod Superius since its inception.

The bodega never had a wine made with pure Bobal, yet the bodega building, the Finca La Borracha , is surrounded by vines from this variety with 70+ years of age. All that has now changed with the launch of a new wine, Bobos, which I was privileged to attend on Saturday.

Aperitif on the terrace with Pablo Ossorio

Aperitif on the terrace with Pablo Ossorio

I had visited the bodega in September last year, ( Archives 26 September 2012) and my blog from then deals with philosophy of the owners.

Together with around twenty wine experts, wine and food bloggers, journalists and food importer/exporters I arrived to a Cava welcome on the spectacular terrace where the lunch table was being set up.

In the Tasting Suite.

In the Tasting Suite.

The visit this time started with a tasting of grapes from the Bobal variety to introduce us to its characteristics as well as giving us an insight into the work of the wine-maker. There were grapes from two bunches. The first were from typically big healthy bunches of Bobal, black with a cottony down in places, big compact grapes, heavy. The second was from the sort of bunch wine-makers looking to do something special,  seek out, The grapes on this bunch were smaller and less tightly packed.

Bunches of Bobal Grapes.

Bunches of Bobal Grapes.

Firstly we pulled the stalk from the top of the grape and compared the difference, those from the bigger bunch were still green and those from the smaller had started to turn red inside the grape.

Next we opened the grape and looked at the pulp, taking the pips out. We compare the pulp, chewing on it to release the sugars and the juices, the smaller ones clearly having more concentrated, ripe fruit. The skins were chewed to compare the colour and taste the tannins and acidity and then even the pips were crunched between the teeth to see what was released, colour and tannins wise.

Tasting the Grapes.

Tasting the Grapes.

Pablo Ossorio went on to explain more about the Variety and its importance before the tour advanced to the fermentation room in the bodega.

Here we were to taste first the must from recently harvested  Chardonnay, direct from the deposit, which was full of flavours of green apple, grass and banana. Next we tried the Chardonnay fermenting in the open-topped barrels. This had changed character and with about 4.5% ABV now had a much more grapefruit flavour.

Fermenting Chardonnay.

Fermenting Chardonnay.

The Pinot Noir with its intense rose-pink colour, also fermenting in barrel was fresh and showed good fruit even at this early stage.

All these wines are protected from oxidation by the cover of Carbon-dioxide which sits over the wine, a bi-product of the fermentation process which is carefully temperature controlled. These wines when finished will become the base for the bodegas cavas, undergoing blending as appropriate and then second fermentation and ageing on the lees in bottle.

We moved on to see the grapes arriving and being stored in cold cabinets to keep them fresh for fermentation  when space is available in the bodega. Then it was down into cellars to see the barrels where the wines are stored, the cava ageing quietly and the bottling process.

Back upstairs a lunch had been prepared, traditional local fare, such as jamon, cheese, anchovies with fresh cheese, ajoarriero, , local sausages such as Longaniza de Pascua, sliced and then a barbecue of morcilla, pancetta, gueños, chorizos, lamb chops, served with the local potatos and fried eggs before fresh fruit and local pastries for dessert.

Laid up for Lunch.

Laid up for Lunch.

But what of Bobal and the new wine?

As a variety Bobal is old and well documented since the 9th century. It is widely planted in La Manchuela, DO Utiel-Requena and DO Ribera del Jucar. It has several names including Bobos, Requena, Benicarló, Provechon, Balau, Balaura, Tinto de Requena, Requeni and Valenciana Tinta amongst others. As an old synonym Bobos was considered appropriate for this new entrant to the market.

It is a problematic variety despite its great resistance to infection and oidium in particular. It is drought resistant but needs rain at the right time and has, of course reactions to soil and other conditions. Age of the vines is important, it is a useful wine when young for blending because it has good colour which does not fade and it does not dominate other varieties. For this reason much is exported for use elsewhere.  When older it makes superb rosado´s and until the millenium this was considered its merit.

But with age, and we are talking vines with 70+ years of age a great change takes place, the bunches cease to be so large and compact, becoming smaller, in grape size and overall volume, the berries are more concentrated with better colour depth of flavour and the wine has potential for ageing…as a number of local bodegas are beginning to find.

Pouring Bobos 2011.

Pouring Bobos 2011.

Grapes from the 2011 vintage were selected and placed in 400 litre American oak barrels.  Here they were macerated at 8ºC for 4 days. Then a gentle pressing released the juice which once fermenting was then passed to French Allier oak for ten months before bottling.

This has given a wine with very specific characteristics. It is a very deep colour with a bright red edge, very typical of the variety. Giving it a swirl in the glass we waited for the legs to appear…..and waited! When they did deem to appear they were incredibly slow, long and hugely glycerinous ( the wine has 10.7gms of glycerine per litre) and they coloured the glass. I have rarely seen anything move more slowly!

On the nose the fruit has a maturity, with coffee, balsamic notes predominating, clove, red fruit jam, very concentrated but a medium intensity, not too powerful.

In the mouth the tannins were smooth, the fruit gently opening then almost exploding. It is the acidity which is most notable, but is fresh strawberry fruit and vanilla that I noted in the long finish. In time this acidity will diminish and the wine already has a harmony between the fruit, alcohol  and the wood.

2012 Left, 2011 Right.

2012 Left, 2011 Right.

We were also fortunate to try the 2012 barrel sample. This has had 10 months in 225 litre French oak including fermentation.

It is currently a dense wine, similar colour to the 2011, maybe a little more garnet in the centre. On the nose there is more fruit than wood, red and black, concentrated and jammy. In the mouth the wood is soft, the wine very elegant, silky and very nicely balanced.

Bobos is and will be an excellent addition to the wines from this leading bodega, in perfect harmony with the philosophy and house style which is quality above all else. I look forward to tasting this into the future because I am sure it has potential for a long life! Both have 13.5% ABV.

My thanks also go once again to Pablo, Marc and Rafa for the invitation and hospitality and to Paco Alonso for organising the event and including me in it!

 

And to Accompany Lunch....

And to Accompany Lunch….

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