Bobal, or “the Bull’s head”, is a black grape from Spain that has the capacity to produce nice, velvety wine when grown on an altitude and treated in the right way.

The name comes from the Lat­in
“Bo­va­le”, re­ferring to the shape of a bull’s head.

The grape is
rec­og­nised for pro­ducing deeply col­oured, fruity wines that are low in
al­co­hol, high in acid­i­ty, and fairly low on tan­nins. In order to produce
quality wine, the vines need to submitted to a mid-season green harvest.

High altitude plantings will produce higher quality grapes as the cooler climate allows them to keep more of their acidity.

Commonly you will find Bobal as a dry, red wine, but can occasionally also be found as a rosé. The best wines can be found in the region of Utiel-Requena, west of Valencia. Here the altitude (from 700 to 950 m/2,300 to 3,100 ft) gives the best conditions for producing high quality Bobal wines. The wines are usually matured in oak for four to six months.

Food pairing
Bobal is very nice with red meat
dishes, but will also pair very well with a casserole, or matured hard
cheese. Serve it at 14-16°C/57-61°F.

Where is it grown?
Bobal is with its 80.120 ha/197.980 ac, the third most planted grape in Spain. This also makes it the eleventh most planted grape in the world.

It is represented in many regions, but the vast majority of plantings are found in an area in central eastern Spain. The area can be described as a triangle formed by the capitals of the three regions in question: Valencia in the east, Cuenca in north-west, and Albacete in south-west.

The grape has however lost ground. In total 20.008 ha/49,441 ac has been uprooted between 2000 and 2010. Almost half of this has taken place in the Cuenca region.

  • Valencia: 32.847 ha/81,167 ac (a 4.988 ha/12.326 ac decrease)
  • Cuenca: 32.136 ha/79,410 ac (a 9.328 ha/23.050 ac decrease)
  • Albacete: 14.284 ha/35,297 ac (a 5.205 ha/12.862 ac decrease)

There are no reports of Bobal being grown outside of Spain.

Bobal is recognised as being native to central eastern Spain, in the area west of Valencia.