I have to admit, when I heard of the Passport release for February, I knew nothing about Bobal. I knew I had to do some research!
Apparently Bobal is one of the three main grapes grown in Spain - Garnacha and Montastrell being the other two. In the Manchuela area of central Spain, Bobal is the most commonly grown grape and very easily to recognize as these thick, gnarly vines are trained for decades and look like little globe shaped trees.
Manchuela is inland from Valencia and located in the valley, between two rivers, Jucar and Cabriel, whose sediments make up the limestone-based clay soils. These valleys and the influences of the Mediterranean Sea make the climate relatively mild. The moist winds coming off the coast help to regulate the temperatures in the vineyard to ensure optimal growing conditions. Two large reservoirs to the north provide irrigation during the very dry growing season. Vineyards here care 600-1000m above sea level; the altitude has a cooling effect and combines with the fresh winds to moderate the hot summer days.