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Monday, May 20, 2024
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Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

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Hello Prince Albert! Taking a chance with a new grape varietal or wine producing region can make some people uncomfortable but with a bit of research and expert advice, new wine experiences can expand your wine drinking confidence. Lovers of fruity cabernet sauvignon should take note because this week’s column features a grape they will probably love just as much!

This week I tasted a wine made from the Bobal grape, sourced from a region in Spain called Utiel-Requina. This region is approximately 70km inland from the ocean and grows white and red grapes but the most dominant grape varietal here is the bobal grape which accounts for about 70% of red wine production (followed by monastrell & garnacha).

Bobal is a thick-skinned grape meaning it needs long periods of heat to sustain growth and to mature into fully ripened grapes. This creates a varietal packed full of intense fruit and grippy but smooth tannins. Thick-skinned grapes such as bobal also offer hidden health benefits like higher levels of anthocyanins which in turn means more of the antioxidant resveratrol.

For those that weren’t aware, wines like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tempranillo and bobal all contain resveratrol (an antioxidant found primarily in grape skins) which is helpful in naturally maintaining and repairing heart tissue and flushing your system of harmful toxins.

Another few interesting facts about bobal: the term bobal actually relates to the word “bovine” in Latin because the grape cluster grows in the shape of a cow’s/bull’s head. Fans of the carignan/carinena grape will be right at home with bobal as they have a similar flavor profile. Bobal can age well since it has a concentrated fruit palate and backbone of firm tannins as well as potential for complexity.

Bobal loves food and will pair perfectly with any kind of grilled steak, juicy cheeseburgers, sharp cheese or traditional Spanish foods like paella, lamb meatballs, wild rabbit and tapas. The grape varietal is often blended with other grapes like tempranillo, garnacha, graciano and monastrell to balance out alcohol levels, fruit concentration, tannins, etc.

I would highly recommend checking out this week’s wine pick as it is the only bottle (that I’m aware of) in Prince Albert containing this grape. Here are my wine picks of the week!

Mitos Reserva 2013: (DOP Utiel-Requena, Spain). Off-dry red, deep ruby color with violet tones. The bouquet from this red is intensely fruity with cooked raspberry, dark cherries, plums, plum skins, red grapes, eucalyptus, chocolate cake and chopped walnuts or almonds. The palate opens with an explosion of intense fruits: dark cherry, sweet cocoa, plum fruit, cooked raspberry and blackberries. The flavors are bouncy and bright with some residual fruit carrying onto the finish. Roasted nuts, gentle pepper and herbal tones seep through (cedar, sagebrush, sandalwood), as well as cloves and high but silky tannins. Acidity is a zippy medium-plus with great intensity and concentration of fruit. Excellent balance and fruity flavor with hints of complexity. Worthy of another bottle purchase or two! Outstanding! $30, 14% ABV

Bella Terra Red Blend 2018: (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada). Dry red, deep purple color. The medium-intense nose delivers fruity scents of plums, blackberries, cherries and hints of vanilla. The palate opens with a soft, medium intense flavor of raspberry and cherry, baked bread (yeast) and plums. To the taste, the flavors are mild but fruity which carries into a simple but gripping finish of chewy tannins. Cherry, toast and raspberry linger lightly with intermingling tannic grip. Very pleasant and easy to sip. Soft acidity (medium-minus), medium-length finish and medium body. Drink now and buy a case for easy-drinking! Pair with light meats or appetizers. Very good! $25, 13.5% ABV

Cheers and thanks for reading!