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Bodega Mustiguillo

In 1972 Toni Sarrión's family bought the Terrerazo estate in Utiel-Requena, west of Valencia on Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast. Toni studied abroad and spent several years working in different sectors of business management and administration, but eventually became disenchanted with the humdrum way of life he was living – he needed a challenge. So in the mid 1990's Toni retuned home to study oenology and viticulture. By visiting different wine regions world-wide he realised that the great wines of a particular region were made from the local grape varieties native to that area. For Toni, this meant Bobal, at the time considered an inferior grape variety only good for blending and making mass-produced wines. This was not an easy journey, as the local community were baffled and rather scornful of Toni's vision and at times he came close to abandoning his project but his belief in Bobal spurred him on. Toni quite simply revolutionised the viticulture of the region by introducing unprecedented methods like soil type maps, the use of vegetable covers in the vineyards, harvesting whilst the vines are still in bloom, and measuring success by leaf coverage instead of the kilo-per-hectare system. It took four years before Toni produced a saleable wine, but eventually in 2003 he created a masterpiece and managed to sell it to both a prestigious North American and a Swiss distributor, and success rapidly followed. This really is a rags to riches story for the Bobal grape variety. Bodega Mustiguillo gained IGP status in 2003, the first Spanish estate to be awarded a Protected Geographical Indication with a Demarcation of Origin: IGP Vino de Tierra Terrerazo. Then in 2010 the estate was upgraded to a Vino de Pago - DOC Pago El Terrarzo, making it the first Vino de Pago [single estate wine denomination] in the Mediterranean region. All of Toni's wines are certified organic and all the grapes are hand-picked and methodically hand-sorted. Different vineyard parcels are processed separately and fermentation is done using their own yeasts. Toni now owns two estates, Finca El Terrerazo two-thirds of which are planted with ancient Bobal vines hundreds of metres above sea level, and Finca Calvestra which is mainly planted with Merseguera – having championed Bobal, the native red grape of the Utiel-Requena region, Toni has now turned his attention to rescuing the native white from obscurity - again with outstanding results!