This year's Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Red Spanish Varietals over £15 went to Mustiguillo, Pago el Terrerazo, Spain 2011 (14.5%)

Tasted against:

  • CVNE, Imperial, Rioja Gran Reserva, Spain 2007
  • Finca Millara, Ribeira Sacra, Spain 2010
  • Luis Cañas, Selección de la Familia, Rioja Reserva, Spain 2008
  • Marqués de Terán, Seleción Especial, Rioja, Spain 2011
  • Matanegra, Vendimia Seleccionada, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2010


This is what you want from a Spanish red,’ said one of our tasters during the judging for this International Trophy. ‘It has concentrated, lavish, opulent fruit – great flavours, lovely depth and with an underlying freshness.’ This contest played out within Spain’s borders, with Ribeira Sacra and Ribera del Duero up against a trio of Riojas. Tempranillo normally lays claim to this Trophy, but not so this year.

Bobal is a grape that has not always enjoyed a stellar reputation. It’s often been thought of as a variety only good enough for simple or bulk wines. With this bottling, however, Mustiguillo has shown that it can be truly world class.

‘Beginnings are always hard, but especially when you decide to focus on Bobal,’ explains owner and winemaker Toni Sarrión. ‘It was a risky venture back in 1999, as nobody believed Bobal would be able to produce the fine wines that we can offer today. Eventually it was the export markets that took a gamble on us and believed in the quality of our wines.’

Sarrión was a civil engineer for 15 years before the lure of wine proved too much. ‘When I was a boy my father always made us work in the summer. I worked in a petrol station, a bank, a porcelain factory and the vineyards.’ There’s no doubt which was his favourite job, and memories of it sparked a career change.

The 2000 vintage was his first produced commercially as a Vino de la Tierra, but in 2010 he won Vino de Pago status for El Terrerazo – the first for Valencia. It’s this unique terroir which is the key, says Sarrión: ‘Bobal is easy to grow but it’s hard to coax out a personality. You need a high-altitude site that sees big differences between day and night temperatures, and the soil needs to be poor, with a well-draining, chalky texture. All of which we enjoy at Terrerazo!’

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Written by Decanter