Organic Azul de Bobal, produced by winemaker Bodegas Iranzo, was recently featured as part of a special article in Decanter on the Utiel-Requena region. The article delves deep into the region as well as its wonderful indigenous Bobal grape:
“The forward thinking DO of Utiel-Requena may not be as widely known as, say, Rioja or Priorat, but it certainly deserves to be, and, in all likelihood, will gain in renown and reputation over the next few years. It is, of course, already well known to the wine cognoscenti. Why?
Well, three particularly important things stand out. First is location and second is the fact that it can boast its own flagship ‘calling card’ grape varietal: Bobal. Third is the proliferation of enlightened winemaking evidenced throughout the region, with a particular emphasis on organic viticulture.
Utiel-Requena is located close to the Mediterranean, but with several of its vines planted at altitudes of up to 900m. Thus it combines the benefits of a maritime climate with continental features, the latter serving to ensure that any humidity from benevolent sea-breezes is used in an advantageous way and does not expose the vines to the dangers of fungal diseases…
There are many grape varieties planted of both colours, but the heritage varietal, Bobal, is currently enjoying a renaissance. Its many stylistic features are enhanced by the existence of old vine plots, some of them evocatively bush-trained and several over 100 years old. Bobal, rather helpfully, is resistant to both drought and powdery mildew (oidium); it is therefore very well suited to organic viticulture.
What’s more, the relatively thick skin ensures a deep colour, plenty of fleshy texture and of course, those all-important life-enhancing anthocyanins! Bobal makes up well over 70% of the plantings and nearly half of its vines are over 40 years old.”
“The scene is thus perfectly set for a return to nature and the harnessing of the virtues of an environment that has proved perfectly suited to organic viticulture in general and the Bobal varietal in particular…The organic approach is both philosophical and practical – and is always complemented by the work done in the winery. Key, however, is the nurturing of the vines, with everything geared to an optimal respect of nature and the aim of sustaining a flourishing ecosystem of which the vineyard is one just part. Sustainability and protection of natural resources for future generations is the ultimate goal.” Decanter
“Family-run, with a history that can be traced back to the 14th century, Bodegas Iranzo has been 100% certified organic since 1994, making it one of the oldest such properties in Spain. The family philosophy focuses on natural purity and harnessing the best possible expression of its lime-crusted sandy soils, which provide a perfect bed for their Bobal, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The bodega is now in transition to full Demeter Biodynamic certification.
Ancient and statuesque Bobal bush vines, some over 80 years of age, dry farmed without irrigation, provide the fruit for this magnificent wine. Fermented with wild yeast only, then aged for six months in French and American barrels, the wine is a definitive statement of textured authenticity, both superbly elegant and impressively long on the palate.”
Distribution: Natural Merchants Inc, $ 15.99 (US)