Juan Antonio Ponce is perhaps best known as a pioneer of the lesser-known grape Bobal, which thrives in his Manchuela vineyards. However, with 'La Xara' Ponce also demonstrates their mastery of Garnacha. This is a superb addition to the wineries range - it’s a fresh, linear wine with mineral notes and chalky tannins, a serious take on the grape that has a similar profile to the Garnachas of Gredos.
The 2021 La Xara is the latest bottled vintage of their pure Garnacha from a vineyard that benefited from the extra rain from the year and ripened slowly to perfection. They think they achieved more Garnacha typicity here but keeping the freshness and fluidity. It's only 12.5% alcohol and has a mellow 3.6 pH and five grams of acidity. The full clusters fermented in 4,500-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in 600-liter barrel and 10,000-liter oak vats with the fine lees for seven months. This is austere and serious, with a reticent nose, contained ripeness and a sharp and mineral palate more in the style of a Garnacha from Gredos.
Juan Antonio Ponce is one of Spain’s leading experts in biodynamic and natural winemaking. After cutting his teeth with Rioja’s winemaking maverick Telmo Rodriguez, Juan Antonio spent time in France learning about biodynamics and how best to apply those techniques to vineyards in Spain.
Juan Antonio’s wines have now become emblematic of a new philosophy in Spanish wine: biodynamically and organically farmed, focused on the representation of terroir, and heavily influenced by the natural wine movement in France. His own vineyards are based in Jumilla, Manchuela in southeast Spain. At nearly 1000m above sea level, they are some of the highest vines in the region. Here, the native red variety Bobal reigns supreme. His vines are between 30 and 90 years old, and some of them are still planted on their own rootstocks (a rarity in Europe today). These are expressive, naturally made wines that have elevated Manchuela, and Bobal, to long-deserved acclaim.