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February 27, 2008

Domaine Ponsot 2005 tasting

Tasting of the 2005 vintage held by Laurent Ponsot at the China Club.

2005 Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Clos des Monts Luisants - this is a monopole white made from old vines Aligoté, planted in 1911. Laurent Ponsot explained that many people do not know that in the old days, Aligoté made up a significant portion of the white wine production in Burgundy. The nose was a little "hot", with notes of pear and minerals. Acidity was on the high side, with a slightly bitter after palate. While Laurent is obviously very proud about this special wine, I think I would stay with Chardonnays in Burgundy...

2005 Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny Cuvée des Cigales - sweet grassy nose, with notes of strawberries. In fact it smelled a little like a new world Pinot...The tannins were evident, while there was a lot of acidity. This combination should actually make for a good one in the long run.

2005 Ponsot Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée de L'Abeille - my favorite of the three village wines, an opinion shared by others at the table. The nose was very sweet, fruity and forward, much more fragrant than the Chambolle. Compared to the Chambolle, the tannins here were much lighter. Overall this wine drinks much better now in its youth.

2005 Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis Cuvée des Grives - situated between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny - this was not very attractive. The nose smelled a bit medicinal and the fruit only showed up much later in the tasting. Tannin levels were between those of the Gevrey and the Chambolle, and I could taste the significant acidity. On the palate it probably was the middle ground between Gevrey and Chambolle.

2005 Ponsot Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes -  a significant improvement over the village wines. The nose was very intense, sweet with a hint of grass and a strong dose of iron and minerals. Here we have again a wine that reminds me of blood. Tannins were soft and the acidity was well-balanced. Very nice.

2005 Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Cuvée des Alouettes - a very ripe and forward wine with an even sweeter nose. I tasted a bit of tannin but the wine was pretty well-balanced. Very enjoyable and significantly higher on the quality scale than the village wine.

2005 Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin - sweet, grassy nose with black cherries. The wine very very smooth, ripe but not "hot". There was a bit of acidity on the palate. Very, very enjoyable and again a notch above the 1er Crus.

2005 Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin - the wine Laurent Ponsot described as the "lolita" readily displaying her charmes was for me the wine of the tasting. It was a ripe and powerful wine, with an explosively sweet nose that blew me away. Drinking today, it showed a bit better than the Chapelle-Chambertin - the "lady" as Laurent would describe it. Views were divided across the table as to which one performed better. The vines were planted with the same clone, and the harvest dates were almost identical. But the terroir of the wine showed through...

2005 Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes - everyone had high expectations, and I dare say that most were at least somewhat disappointed. The acidity was quite high, and the nose was very muted - I didn't get any fruit out of it. As Laurent said, this wine would probably reach maturity only in 20 years, so I guess we will wait and see.

Conclusion? 1. Don't buy the village wines (which I did not). 2. 1er Cru is worth buying (bought the Chambolle-Musigny). 3. The two Grand Crus from Chambertin are better value than the Clos de la Roche VV (bought all of them, but my allocation on Griotte and Chapelle was smaller than the Clos de la Roche!)

After the tasting I went off to dinner at Bonheur with a couple of friends, and opened up 2 bottles of wine.

1985 Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde - I have served the three single-vineyard Côte-Rôtie LaLaLa's in an MNSC tasting 3 years ago, and was looking forward to tasting their cousin. It drank beautifully - especially for the price paid. It was a classic Côte-Rôtie with the telltale perfumed nose from the Viognier. Very smooth after more than 20 years' of aging, the tannins were soft and yummy.

2002 Pax Syrah Walker Vine Hill - from one of my favorite Californian Syrah producers, it's basically a fruit bomb weighing in at 15.2% alcohol. We decanted the bottle, each had a couple of sips, and poured the wine back into the bottle. I will be having it tomorrow after 24 hours...

Full post on tasting and dinner is here.

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