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Bowled over by a Bobal, Spain’s other red grape

A new wine range makes its debut with a stunning Spanish Bobal. Bin #001 Altolandon Bobal 2017, from vineyards farmed organically at 1100m in Manchuela in Valencia, goes on sale on Monday – and when it’s gone it’s gone. It’s the first in The Wine Society’s new Bin Series - one-off parcels introduced as and when a Society buyer finds one. The Bobal* is Head of Buying Pierre Mansour’s discovery. The idea is that the range should fulfil one of the stated aims of the Society’s founders back in 1874: to introduce ‘wines hitherto unknown or little known’. There are no boundaries to the new range, but every wine has to be ‘exciting’, ‘unbeatable value’ and ‘delicious’. This is. It’s vibrant deep purple, with a ripe, spicy black-cherry nose, a dense dark-fruit palate (cherries, damsons), with suggestions of liquorice, black olive and black pepper and a deft touch of oak (four months in French). Lightly gripping tannins and fresh acidity tighten the mouth-filling smoothness. Sheer pleasure. An obvious wine for red meat, but the acidity and the brightness of the fruit make it a good match for a lot of foods and dishes (rather in the same way as the Beaujolais Crus). It handled porcini sauce, cavolo-nero pesto and leeks vinaigrette (not all at once I hasten to add, in case you’re feeling alarmed at my dietary habits). It even cut the creaminess of burrata without killing its flavour. 14%.

*To give a bit of background to Bobal: it's Spain's second most planted red grape (after Tempranillo and ahead of Garnacha), largely planted in the eastern central provinces, but until quite recently it was regarded as a workhorse variety, fit for bulk wines and blending and not for mentioning on labels. In the last decade it has been rehabilitated to some degree, deservedly so, especially when grown at higher elevations, as with this Bin Series #001.

£8.95, The Wine Society

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