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2005 Ponsot - Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes

FRANCE / BURGUNDY / MOREY-SAINT-DENIS
  • 98 WA
  • Variety
    Pinot Noir
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SKU: 47831-2005
  • International Wine Cellar | Rating:

    ($269) There's a story behind these samples and I'll try to keep it short. Laurent Ponsot refused to show me his 2005s at the domain in November, saying they had been bottled recently and that they were sure to be ugly for at least a few months. He promised to send samples to me in early December via his U.S. importer and asked me to let them rest until late February, or just before presstime. Well, the samples did not arrive Stateside until early February and, since Ponsot had forgotten to mark |samples| on my box, they were impounded by U.S. Customs in Miami. It took the importer another week or two to pry them loose and I only received my box in mid-month. After all that, it turned out there were just two samples of red wine. Given all the trouble in getting these bottles, I figured the odds were high that at least one would be corked. And thus I wasn't shocked at an initial mustiness on the nose of this wine. My note will take you through my experience, practically in real-time. Full red. Penetrating, slightly musty nose hints at dried flowers, pepper, minerals and fresh herbs, with a hint of raspberry; either slightly corked or marred by a hint of old barrel. The palate offers superb energy, precision and cut, but much less obvious ripeness and weight than the Chapelle. In fact, this soil-driven wine is all about flowers, spices, herbs and lift. After 24 hours: Deeper, bright red. A hint of mocha where the mustiness had been, along with musky strawberry, rose petal, smoke and cinnamon spice. Silky-sweet but with superb harmonious acidity giving great penetration to the brisk flavors of red berries, blood orange and spices. Much more red fruits and spices with the extended aeration. This endlessly fascinating wine, which is extraordinary in its energy and intensity but is by no means a powerhouse, transcends the vintage and the variety and is utterly transparent to the site. If my cork was not perfect, then the juice in the bottle is probably a 98-pointer; but if my bottle was sealed with a perfectly sound cork, then an otherwise extraordinary wine will wear a whiff of faulty cooperage through its life like a scarlet |O.| I remain optimistic.
    Author: Stephen Tanzer
    Issue: March/April 2008
  • Burghound | Rating: 99

    No review available
    Author: Allen Meadows
    Issue: 1st Quarter, 2008
  • Wine Advocate | Rating: 98

    The estate's flagship 2005 Clos de la Roche Cuvee Vieilles Vignes surges from the glass in an aromatic tidal wave of liqueur-like black raspberry essence, cinnamon spice, praline, chocolate and heady floral sweetness. Incontrovertibly fat and full, not about clarity or discretion but rather about thick, sumptuous layers of flavor that blanket the palate, this will not be every taster's idea of a great Burgundy - or perhaps even a good time. Still, there is lift, bright juiciness and a sense of emerging elegance in a finish where sheer intensity and unabashed richness rule but neither the fruit nor tannins are the least bit coarse, and stony, chalky underpinnings break the surface with their own sort of austere beauty. (Thankfully, there is roughly ten times the amount of this wine as of Clos St.-Denis.) Laurent Ponsot (like his father) vinifies to the beat of a different drummer, whether it is in his employment of a basket press from 1945, his reliance on exclusively (truly) old barrels, his aggressive pigeage, or his virtual refusal (since 1988) to sulfur the wines (nitrogen and CO2 are administered at bottling). The results are as distinctive as the methods, but also profoundly impressive and proven to age magnificently. Certainly one has to adjust to a background level of chocolate and that lack of a certain |pep| that is otherwise conveyed, MSG-wise, to wines given a normal quota of sulfur during their elevage. But after a few samples - and especially when I re-tasted these wines |cold| at 7:00 A.M. - I was fully attuned to their virtues. The alcohols in 2005 are as high as 15%, but you do not notice it, even when told. Asked when he intends to bottle, Ponsot replies |I don't know. Maybe one or two in the Spring, maybe before the harvest, maybe afterward.|
    Author: Robert Parker
  • No collector reviews available
  • Domaine Ponsot has been a top producer and catalyst for innovation in Burgundy since 1872. After the Franco-Prussian War, William Ponsot settled in Morey-Saint-Denis, bought a vineyard, which included the 1er Cru monopole Clos des Monts Luisants and a parcel of Clos de la Roche, and began producing wine. In the 1930s, Williams's nephew Hippolyte was among the first producers in Burgundy to practice estate bottling, and took part in founding the A.O.C. classification. In the 1960s, Hippolyte's son, Jean-Marie, was one of the pioneers of clonal selection of Pinot Noir. In fact, many of the most important Pinot Noir clones originate from mother vines in Ponsot's vineyards.

    Today, under the control of Laurent Ponsot, the domaine produces wine from tiny yields and using no new oak, a regime that has been referred to as "perennially inconsistent." To this critique, Laurent says, "We are lazy, we don't interfere with nature. My aim is to express the vintage and the terroir through my wines, not to express myself. Some people say we are inconsistent. To me this is the greatest possible compliment."

    Burgundy is home to some of the greatest and most expensive wines in the world. Stretching from Auxerre in the north to Lyon in the south, the region's most famous section is the limestone-rich Côte d'Or. Vineyards in Burgundy are classified according to their locations on the hillsides. Only 2% of total production is from grand cru sites, while premier cru and village-level wines are more common. It is rare for one domaine to own an entire vineyard; rather the land has been divided down to individual rows, in some cases as a result of inheritance laws. While other varieties can be found in Burgundy, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign supreme. The best examples are capable of aging for 15 years or more, a rarity for these two varieties, making them highly valuable. 

    Collector Data For This Wine

    • 1094 bottles owned
    • 112 collectors