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Juan Antonio Ponce stands alone as the leader of Manchuela and as the master of the Bobal grape. Manchuela, a lesser-known Spanish wine region that is inland from Valencia, specializes in the Bobal variety with its thick skins and rusticity. Bodegas Ponce is a pioneer when there are very few defenders of this region and even fewer winemakers that are dedicated to this varietal. Juan worked as the right-hand man to Telmo Rodriguez at Cia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez for 5 years. During this time, he oversaw winemaking, vineyard management, etc.
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. The purity and finesse of the
Garnacha is front and center, mixed with the ripe, red floral notes of raspberry and cherry fruit. If you enjoy Rioja or other elegant, finesse driven reds, you are going to be wowed by the La Xara 2021.