I am in Murcia for the holiday season. I have bought a wine cupboard and filled it with a collection of wines delivered from the national chain Vinissimus. This year I bought only one local wine (and it was the same as last year, see here). But from over in La Mancha, not far away in Manchuela, I have three wines from the same producer.
Juan Antonio Ponce works biodynamically in the vineyard, and in the winery he takes a natural approach, using low levels of sulfur dioxide. The bunches are chilled and fermented without de-stemming. Freshness is another priority when working with bobal, with harvests before most of the neighbours to avoid ripe or stewed sensations.
Clos Lojen is 100% bobal from vineyards on limestone-clay soil at 800 meters. It had a short maceration and aging for 3-4 months in used French oak barrels. Buena Pinta is not a bobal. Moravia agria, a native grape from Castilla-La Mancha, accounts for 90%, and the rest is garnacha. Moravia is noted for its acidity and blends well with garnacha. It’s aged for 7 months in used 600-liter French oak barrels and bottled without filtering or clarifying. Pie Franco was maybe the first wine I tried from Juan Antonio, and immediately put him on the throne as the King of Bobal. One can wonder how wines tasted before phylloxera. Without going into further discussion I can only say that there is a timeless air over this wine, fruit of old vines bobal planted in sandy soils where phylloxera did not enter. For me a doubtless classic.
Clos Lojén 2021: Cherry red. Fresh and fruit-driven aroma of cherry and blackberry, herbs and a peppery note. Juicy in the mouth with fine tannins wrapped in fruit, and with fresh acidity. Youthful and serious.
Buena Pinta 2021: Bright ruby red. Perfumed and complex aroma with cherries, plums, flowers, herbs, and balsamic hints. On the palate it is very fresh and vivid, with evident tannins, and a slightly bitter aftertaste. Fascinating, between fragility and strength.
Pie Franco 2021: This is a more powerful wine. Dark cherry red. Aromatic, with black fruits, scrubland and also balsamic notes (eucalyptus) Structured, with mature tannins and mineral notes. A timeless classic.