Virtually unknown outside Spain, the Manchuela wine region is situated inland from Valencia, with vineyards at altitudes of up to 700m. The warm, dry conditions are perfect for biodynamic farming which owner Juan Antonio Ponce has followed from the outset when he bought the farm in 2005 aged just 23. He singlehandedly produces just 3500 cases a year from a rented winery, the roots of today’s Bodegas Ponce.
The thick-skinned Bobal grape is the predominant variety here, which although rustic in style, retains a crisp natural acidity allowing for well-balanced wines. No irrigation is used in these arid plots, with the vines left untrained as bushes, reaching far in to the earth to get their supplies of water. Juan Antonio’s approach in the winery is as traditional as possible, with no fining or filtration and very little preservatives. The grapes are handpicked, chilled and then fermented in whole bunches, stems and all, to retain the natural flavours of the fruit, with a small percentage foot trodden for greater extraction of colours and tannins. The wine spends up to 7 months resting in barrel.