|At a recent wine dinner I had the pleasure of meeting Juan Antonio Ponce, the wine maker and owner of Bodegas Ponce, located in the D.O. (Denominación de Origen) of Manchuela. In this tiny appellation, located inland from Valencia, the Bobal varietal reigns supreme, although other grapes, including Garnacha Tintorera (aka Alicante Bouchet), Syrah and Malbec, are also grown. Producers such as Finca Sandoval, Alto Landon, Cien Y Pico and Bodegas Ponce have set the standards for what can be expected from this region.
For me, meeting Juan Antonio has been one of the highlights of the year. His story is inspiring. In 2005 when he was just 23, Juan Antonio set out to establish his own winery, adopting Biodynamic agricultural practices in his vineyards and purposely going the “natural” route in his winery. His philosophy is to make wines with wild yeast fermentation, to respect the local varietal Bobal and to express the region’s unique terroir. Just nine years later, he stands alone as the leader of the pack in Manchuela and the master of the Bobal grape.
~ Oscar, 67Wine Buyer, July 2014