© Florian Rossignol, 22nd March 2019
‘If the Chambertin is the wine of the King, the Musigny belongs to the Queen, then the Clos de la Roche belongs to the Emperor.’
A couple of weeks ago, we were singing in the karaoke room with the team, and we had run out of wine (our liquid courage and source of song inspiration). Mike offered me the opportunity to choose a magnum in the magnum room (always a terrible idea to ask me). It was still the beginning of the night, so I was in the mood for Burgundy. I’ve never tasted Domaine Ponsot’s wine before, so I was intrigued by the lineup of all those Clos de la Roche that we have in our shop (1992, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2009). Mike let me pick the 2003. I’m usually afraid about taking this vintage because of the overripe aromas I find in many of the 2003. But, Mike recommended the 2003, and I trust him.
After just a sniff, I fell in love with it. The freshness was unbelievable. I had the impression that small raspberries were dancing under my nose. The wine offers more than that with rhubarb coulis, strawberry and floral notes. These aromas and flavours brought me back to my family’s garden where we grow raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and many types of flowers. I used to spend my day there as a kid, helping out in the garden, playing, climbing in the cherry trees. The wine reminded me of all those good memories.
The palate was even more impressive, the youth of the wine left me speechless. I was simply not expecting this from 2003. The velvet texture with refined tannins and balanced acidity made it a complete wine. And it still has long ageing potential. This 2003 was only produced in magnum as Laurent Ponsot believed it would keep the freshness of this warm vintage, and he was right.
A long time ago, the grand cru vineyard Clos de la Roche was surrounded by walls and was only 4 hectares. Then, when they created the AOC they added in some lieux-dits (Les Fermières, Les Mauchamps, Les Monts Luisants, etc.), and now it is 17 hectares. But, the original 4 hectares still remain and of that Domaine Ponsot owns 3 hectares. Then, the remaining .4 hectares they own is divided between three other lieux-dits. Domaine Ponsot is the largest owner of the Clos de la Roche vineyard, and they only have very old vines (50+ years old).
I am always impressed to see how far Laurent pushes the domaine toward perfection: all his work to fight counterfeit wines, the usage of plastic corks that allow the wine to breath without the TCA risk, the area on the label that changes colour if the wine is exposed to high temperature, and the smart box that notes the temperature during shipping. While as of 2017 Laurent is no longer directing Domaine Ponsot, I still have many of the wines made under his direction to try.
I’m looking forward to opening the next bottle/ magnum of Ponsot.