Kent’s Pick: 2015 11 Pinos Bobal Old Vines, $9.99

Let me start by saying I occasionally feel some sympathy for my co-worker Dave Kirkpatrick. Dave is the one who puts together copy for our newsletter here in the Wine Shop, and when it comes to getting our wine picks written and submitted in a timely manner for his review, I feel like Dave has the unenviable job of ‘gently prodding’ some of us procrastinators. I would equate it to herding cats!! So when Dave kindly reminded me that my wine pick was needed ASAP, I hadn’t yet put much thought into it, and I grabbed a bottle of wine from our Backwall Bargains (all wines under $10, check it out if you’re looking for a good value), one that I hadn’t tasted and was curious about. I’ve done some reading about the Bobal grape, but have never had a wine made from that variety. The grape is actually the third most planted grape in Spain behind Airen (a white grape), and Tempranillo. In the past, due to its vigor, Bobal has mostly been used to make inexpensive jug wines, but if the vines are farmed a bit more aggressively (by dropping excess grape clusters and trimming excess shoots and leaves), the grapes ripen much more evenly and with increased concentration, ultimately making some excellent wines. I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this bottle, but I’m glad I did! My first thoughts were that the wine was kind of like Garnacha on steroids. Meaning that it was relatively soft, with a flavor profile very similar to Garnacha—lots of dark fruit, kirsch, baking spice, and a rustic leathery note—but the wine is higher in acid with slightly firmer tannins. It reminds me of some very good Côtes du Rhônes I’ve had over the years. I drank this wine with steak, roasted red pepper puree, and roasted root vegetables. It worked perfectly. Very simply put, I think this wine is a great value. Cheers!