Juan Antonio Ponce

When I was 17 years old, I spent most of my time watching MTV and attempting to noodle my way through Jimmy Page guitar solos. When Juan Antonio Ponce was 17 years old, he was already a certified enologist.

After a few years working as Telmo Rodriguez’s right hand man at Remelluri in Rioja, where he learned the ins and outs of biodynamics, Ponce returned to his family’s 22 hectare farm in the Manchuela DO. Manchuela lies a bit inland from the Valencian coast, between La Mancha to the west, Utiel-Requeña to the east, and Jumilla to the south. With the courage of a 23-year-old, Ponce boldly broke his family’s pattern of selling the harvest of their native bobal vines, in favor of bottling estate wine. In relatively few vintages, his work has already earned him recognition as the leader of Manchuela, and the title “King of Bobal”. But can he play “Heartbreaker“?

Monthly Pass holders may already be familiar with “Clos Lojen”, the entry point to Ponce’s wines, and a surprisingly gulpable version of bobal. “La Casilla” is a bottling of 80-year-old vine bobal from the Estrecha area, and might be the most immensely impactful wine in the shop right now, though it somehow maintains structural balance. “Reto” is made from the under-appreciated albilla variety, which carries a graceful honied peach note that reminded us of some young Vouvray. “Buena Pinta” is the only red made without bobal, highlighting instead another local variety, moravia agria, whose inherent freshness and aromatic complexity are bolstered in this case with the addition of around 40% garnacha.

10% off all four wines from Bodegas Ponce throughout December

Cieck

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About an hour’s drive north of the Langhe lies the Canavese countryside. Compared to Barolo and its overwhelming vistas of vineyards stretching toward the horizon, Cieck’s vineyards in the comune of San Giorgio Canavese give a feeling of bleak, beautiful solitude. Octogenarian Remo Falconieri still supervises all aspects of his thirty-year-old estate, along with his daughter Lia and right hand man Domenico Caretto. The most significant variety here is erbaluce, which produces a light, elegant white wine, either still or sparkling. The trio of reds produced by Cieck succinctly illustrate the range of what is possible for red wine in Canavese: a regionally traditional barbera-based field blend, a distinctive version of the noble nebbiolo, and perhaps the only example in pure of neretto (full name neretto di San Giorgio), which was once a much more prolific variety.

As wine professionals, we often try to attach the concept of authenticity to a wine or winery (read: “real wine”, etc.). This may be code for a sort of manifested tie to something necessarily old and perhaps fallen out or favor or currency; or the gentle melancholy associated with the rediscovery of some long-lost, once-revered object. The wines of Cieck are this authentic.

We’re pleased to offer these wines for the first time in Massachusetts, and throughout the month of November at 10% off our normal shelf price.

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BOJO 4

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Côte du Py, 8 March 2016, 10:01 AM

Near the village of Villié-Morgon, from the hilltop of Py, there is a 360º viewpoint where it’s easy to pick out Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly to the southwest, Régnié to the west, Chiroubles, Fleurie, and Moulin-à-Vent to the north, and on a clear day, Mont Blanc in the southeastern distance. These ancient vineyards have long been known as the origin of wines destined to slake the thirst of the masses at home or at the local bar or bistro. Appreciation of the distinctive wines of each of the ten recognized crus is an entirely modern phenomenon, resulting from the establishment of AOC status in the 1930’s and ’40’s (and 1988 for Régnié). Now that the region has just about recovered from the devastating devaluation of the region’s wines due to the marketing masterpiece known as Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, it appears that a renaissance has arrived. Never before have there been so many great Beaujolais produced, and a great many of those are exported our way.

For the fourth year, we’re proud to offer an all new “Bojonanza” six-pack, featuring six different crus from six different producers, all from the delightfully full, fruity, and food-friendly 2014 vintage. This is a great opportunity to explore the ever-increasing breadth and quality of a region that is finally starting to get the attention it deserves. The wines are all available individually in limited quantities, though buying all six will net you a $25 discount!

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BOJONANZA 4 $120
A bottle of each of the six wines described below. Travel village by village at your own pace through the entire region of Beaujolais; or get your crew together and open them all at once to share the ultimate cru Beaujolais experience!

Château Thivin Brouilly “Reverdon” $23
This estate is well known for their exemplary Côte-de-Brouilly, which we featured in the inaugural addition of Bojonanza. Most wines that fall into the more humble Brouilly appellation are made from low-lying, flatter vineyards, but Thivin’s vineyards are in “Reverdon”, a moderately steep hillside replete with crushed pink granite.

Domaine Mee Godard Morgon “Corcelette” $30
After years of studying and working in wine in Oregon and Burgundy, Mee Godard created her domaine in February of 2013. She has quickly earned the “rising star” status for her début and sophomore vintages, crafted from three excellent terroirs in Morgon. She works vines in three different sections of Morgon, bottling each separately. This “Corcelette” carries all the gravity and tension of true Morgon, though in a vintage like 2014, it’s already very expressive.

Roland Pignard Régnié $25
Lapierre, Foillard, Métrat, etc., and why not Pignard? Exhibit A for why Roland and Joëlle Pignard’s work ought to be included along with the best in the region is this utterly old-school, silence-rendering Régnié.

Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie “Clepsydre” $25
Anne Sophie Dubois is one of the younger producers in Fleurie, but has already become an important voice for the region, particularly in regard to the movement to eschew carbonic maceration, as has been the rule in Beaujolais over the last half century, to revert to traditional Burgundian fermentation, which results in a more extracted, tannic, and slower-developing wine. She produces three different cuvées, none of which is a clearer example than “Clepsydre”, which is made from a selection of her oldest vines, and could probably use a decant and an hour out of bottle, if you’re drinking it this year.

Céline et Nicolas Hirsch Chénas $18
Céline and her husband Nicolas are transplants from Alsace who recently found the opportunity to manifest their winemaking dreams in purchasing an old estate in Chénas. The appellation of Chénas is the smallest of the crus, squeezed in between Juliénas to the north and Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent to the south. It could just be the power of suggestion, but this wine seems to combine the muscular, lower frequencies of Moulin-à-Vent with the higher, brighter tones of Juliénas.

Domaine Chignard Juliénas “Beauvernay” $24
After over a century of working a single steep hillside in Fleurie called “Les Moriers”, the Chignards, under the leadership Cedric (5th generation), acquired a small hillside vineyard in Juliénas just a few years ago. Cedric and his father Michel are staunch defenders of the typical Beaujolais whole-cluster fermentation, as is clearly shown in the exuberant, strawberry-suffused aroma of this young wine.