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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.