Bobal is a dark-skinned grape variety native to Utiel-Requena in southeast Spain. It is widely planted throughout the region in the DOs of Valencia, Manchuela, Alicante and Murcia. Outside Spain, Bobal is grown in small amounts in the Roussillon region of France and the Italian island of Sardinia, where it is known as Bovale or Nieddera. Itsname is derived from the Latin word bovale – meaning bull – and refers to the resemblance the grape bunches have to a bull’s head.
In Spain, it is the third most cultivated variety behind Airen and Tempranillo. Bobal’s thick skins produce deeply colored wines with good tannins and acidity and only moderate alcohol. However, it is not considered a quality grape variety, and in the past its main function was to produce grape concentrate.
Nowadays, however, Bobal growers are focusing more on quality production. Rosé wines made using the variety can reach a level of complexity that suggests it has great promise when put to this use. As red wine, however, it can sometimes lack the body found in other varieties from the same area so is often blended with the likes of Mourvedre (Monastrell in Spain), which has enormous potential for alcohol.
In Sardinia, Bobal is the primary ingredient for the Campidano di Terralba DOC. There, it produces red wines blended with the little-known regional varieties Pascale di Cagliari, Greco Nero (known locally as Greco Nieddu) or Monica and can be released a mere six months after being harvested.
Synonyms include: Bovale, Nieddera.
Food matches include:
Europe: Paella Valenciana (red and rosé)
Asia: Szechuan tea-smoked duck (red)
Americas: Chilean roasted rabbit (conejo asado) (red)