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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, and reign supreme. The best examples are capable of aging for 15 years or more, a rarity for these two varieties, making them highly valuable.
Pinot Noir is a delicate, thin-skinned grape that is notoriously difficult to grow but unmatched in its ability to reflect its terroir. It is early-budding and early-ripening, and thus requires a cool climate. To achieve its best expression and maintain its delicate flavor profile, Pinot Noir demands great care in the vineyard, particular attention to yield management, and careful handling in the winery. Growers blessed with the patience, skill, and terroir to produce world-class Pinot Noir are greatly rewarded. Not only are these wines complex, age-worthy, and delicious, they also command some of the world’s highest prices.
Old-World Pinot Noir most famously hails from , where it is the only red variety permitted in the region. Techniques such as whole-bunch fermentation and barrel ageing, now common amongst high-quality Pinot Noir producers around the world, were pioneered by Burgundian winemakers. Age-worthy Pinot Noir from Burgundy tends to be high in acid, display low to medium tannins, and have red fruit flavors in youth that evolve into complex flavors of earth, game, cola, and truffle with age. Some of the most famous producers include , , , and .
New-World Pinot Noir tends to grow in warmer climates and on newer vines than in the Old Word, producing wine that is more fruit-forward with flavors of red cherry, cranberry, and raspberry. The highest-quality wines come from moderate regions in , particularly and , and top producers include , , and .
High acidity, low tannin, and low alcohol make Pinot Noir a versatile wine to pair. Spiced duck, fatty fish, grilled chicken, spicy foods, and anything with mushroom are just a few classic examples.