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THE DOMAINE PONSOT PHILOSOPHY

The three types of viticulture explored above, namely sustainable practices, organic agriculture and biodynamic farming, are all based on a negative observation: humans have gone too far in their quest for profitability and have not been sufficiently concerned about the future of the vine. And this is no doubt true.
At Domaine Ponsot, this concern or rather this process of respecting Nature is very ancient. It is the embodiment of the so-called "peasant" tradition based on common sense. And every generation since the foundation of the Domaine in 1872 has subscribed to this Love of Nature and, by the same token, its respect. And everything that is advocated today in the three ways of working described above has been applied at Domaine Ponsot since its earliest days, without needing to invent a name for it. 

Unfettered by the latest fashions, we have always sought to express the richness of Burgundy terroir through "natural" cultivation practices. Human intervention is limited and only applied to the help that the vine needs, without ever trying to force it in any way. Of course, this way of working is only possible with full knowledge of the facts, and current technology allows us to check the state of the soil, vegetation and maturity as never before. And we make full use of what it has to offer. In summary, our family's long tradition of letting Nature do most of the work means that today the conditions of our vineyards are particularly good. And every intervention on our part is dictated by circumstance, in which both common sense and the most natural products possible are the order of the day. What we have always been doing is now being advocated by most technicians and names invented to describe practices that were already well-known … several thousand years ago!

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History

William Ponsot established the Domaine in 1772 after the Prussian war. It was not until after the 19th century, however, that the Domaine began to take its present form under the influence of Jean-Marie’s uncle who had 7.4 acres of vineyards but no children. When his nephew, Jean-Marie’s father, took over in 1922, the inheritance had become only 2.47 acres. By the time Jean-Marie started working in 1949, land purchases had increased holdings to 14.8 acres. He added 6.4 acres in 1957, located in Morey, Gevrey and Chambolle.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vineyards

From sustainable practices to biodynamic growing...
 In order to move towards practices that are more environmentally friendly and return to a true expression of the terroir (which should be reinstated as one of the AOC themes), many wine estates are debating the issues of sustainable management in vineyards and organic farming. We will examine three different types of viticulture here :

 

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICESKnown as "la lutte raisonnée" in French which translates as 'measured control', this is the first phase before full-scale organic viticulture. Unlike conventional agriculture (high yields, prolific use of chemical treatments and products to prevent diseases and predators) which produces an "assisted" and productive vine stock, sustainable viticulture uses chemicals in a limited and measured way and sets additional constraints to general regulations such as :

 

Restrictive specifications
Preservation of the farming environment
Soil and fertilisation management
Upkeep of wine-producing land
Limitation of inputs with measured use of plant protection and oenological products
Effluent reduction and waste management
Traceability and testing
Sustainability and improvement of the farm or estate's performance

 

ORGANIC FARMING
Organic viticulture, so often derided in the past, is gaining increasing ground, thanks to the many advantages it offers. Because pesticides and chemical fertilisers are not permitted, the vine produces a grape of great quality that reflects the typical characteristics of its terroir. There is a biological balance in nature and life is present at all levels. Organic agriculture takes this balance and life into account, preserving them as far as possible. Organic wine producers undertake to use products that are free from synthetically produced chemicals. In the vineyard, they use raw materials of natural origin (copper, sulphur, plant-based insecticides) and work to promote natural pest control between species. Their aim is to encourage life in the soil and the preservation of animal and plant species, thus protecting the natural ecosystem.

In practice, this means letting grass grow which will aerate the soil, feed earthworms and compete with the vine stocks that will have to put down longer roots to reach the resources they need, in soil with a higher mineral salt content that is more representative of the terroir. It should not be forgotten that organic farming has a cost: additional labour, cleaner but more expensive plant treatment preparations, greater risk-taking in terms of vine diseases and therefore lower productivity which usually means lower yields.



BIODYNAMIC FARMING
 
Biodynamic farming is the extreme version of organic agriculture. Not only do winegrowers do everything they can to preserve nature, they also start from the principle that the damage already inflicted is so great that humans must do everything they can to restore this lost balance, including using the influence of terrestrial and cosmic rhythms. The vineyard is considered to be a living entity and a natural balance must be maintained between the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, in other words, the sun. Biodynamic viticulture uses the positions of the stars and planets in conjunction with seasonal cycles to determine exactly when which treatments should be applied. The latter are all completely organic and some are more than a little mystical, such as the burial of a cow's horn filled with dung.
This unconventional way of doing things may sometimes raise a smile, but the success of some of its proponents should be sufficient to pique our interest.



 

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Winemaking

At Domaine Ponsot we produce wines uninfluenced by fashion. These choice are not dictated by a kind of occultism resulting from what today is known as "non-interventionism". On the contrary, it is much more difficult to resist the temptation, however human it may be, to correct such and such a defect appearing during the maturation of the wine, or to take action earlier in the process and modify vine cultivation in order to standardise quality and protect against climatic hazards. We love Wine. We love it because it's alive.


To love it for the happiness and pleasure it brings, we are willing to put up with its bad moods, its absences and its weaknesses. We live in an impatient world, and fashion encourages us to gratify those immediate desires imposed on us through the media and through profitability.


Swimming against the tide has never been easy. When it happens in sport, the media are only too happy to commend it. When it comes to food and wine, it would appear that some critics prefer to keep your head firmly under the water… It is often the case that our wines are inaccessible for a certain period of time, and only show themselves after a long and ungrateful adolescence, revealing a sensual and elegant being when they reach maturity. We respect the consumer and will not therefore sell any wine that does not fulfil the expectations of its appellation and its vintage. We would either send it to the distillery (as we did for the Morey Clos des Monts Luisants 1993 and 2012), or we would declassify it and reduce the price (as we did for practically all wines in the 1994 vintage).

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Inside information

1872  - Originally from St Romain in Côte d'Or, William Ponsot purchased a wine estate in Morey-St-Denis and set up home there. His major parcels of land at that time were :

  • Clos des Monts-Luisants 
  • Clos de la Roche
  • Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes
  • Charmes Chambertin


1920  - His nephew and godson, Hippolyte Ponsot, took over the Domaine after completing his career as a diplomat. With the help of his brother, Henri Ponsot, who was also a diplomat (resident consul general in Morocco and ambassador of France in several countries), Hippolyte Ponsot substantially increased the size of Clos de la Roche by purchasing ¾ of the original "Clos de la Roche" lieu-dit.


1932  - He started bottling his entire harvest at the Domaine. This was very rare at the time and only a dozen or so Burgundy wine estates did so before the Second World War.

The 1934 vintage was the first to be sold in France, with sales in the United States and numerous other European countries.


1935  - A lawyer by training, Hippolyte Ponsot was one of the founders of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) classification for Burgundy wines in 1935 and 1936.

1942  - Jean-Marie Ponsot, his son, farmed the vineyards and made wine in collaboration with him. Hippolyte retired in 1957.

In the early 1960s.

Many of the most respected clones of Pinot Noir (113, 114, 115, 667, etc.) came from the mother-stock planted in 1954 (and still in production) in our Clos de la Roche vineyards.


1961  - Jean-Marie Ponsot started to farm the following parcels under amétayage agreement (returning a share of the bottled harvest to the owners of the vineyard as payment) :

  • Chambolle-Musigny, 
  • Chambertin, 
  • Latricières-Chambertin

1972  - Jacqueline Ponsot Livera, his wife, added to the estate through her inheritance of the following parcels :

  • Gevrey Chambertin Cuvée de l’Abeille,
  • Chapelle Chambertin
  •  
  • 1975  - The Domaine was incorporated as a landholding company with Jean-Marie Ponsot, Jacqueline Ponsot Livera, Abbot Denis Ponsot and Marie-Antoinette Ponsot as principals.


1981  - Laurent Ponsot started working with his father Jean-Marie on the family estate and became its manager together with his sister Rose-Marie Ponsot.

He set up a new sales system, diversifying the sale of all bottled production to 44 countries. He farms the vineyards and makes wine with an emphasis on total authenticity.


1982  - Addition of several parcels from the Domaine des Chezeaux under a métayage agreement :

  • Griotte Chambertin, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Chambertin, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Clos St Denis Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes, premier cru AOC, red.


1989  - Domaine Ponsot was filed as a registered trademark

2001  - New appellation purchased :

  • Bourgogne Cuvée du Pinson, regional AOC, red.


2002  - New appellations through purchases and joint venture agreements :

  • Chambolle-Musigny Cuvée des Cigales, village AOC, red. 
  • Charmes Chambertin, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Clos de Vougeot Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, grand cru AOC, red.


2009  - New appellations through joint venture agreements :

  • Corton Charlemagne, grand cru AOC, white.
  • Corton Cuvée du Bourdon, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Corton Bressandes, grand cru AOC, red.
  • Chambertin Clos de Bèze, grand cru AOC, red.


2010  - New appellation through joint venture agreement: :

  • Montrachet, grand cru AOC, white.


2011  - New appellation through joint venture agreement :

Saint Romain Cuvée de la Mésange, village AOC, white.

Today, the estate continues to be an entirely family-run business, its various entities being owned by Laurent Ponsot and his sisters, Rose-Marie, Catherine and Stéphanie Ponsot.

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17 different wines with 117 vintages

Winemaking since 1972

  • Robert Parker, Jr.

    “At their finest, Ponsot’s wines are classic examples of great red burgundy. While rich and accessible enough to be drunk young, they are capable of lasting 20-30 years, making Ponsot one of a handful of Burgundy growers committed to making long-lived wines.”

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Wine Moments

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 Domaine Ponsot  has updated producer and wine information

1m 3d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bonnes-Mares 2018 is very deeply colored, in fact so much so that it would make a young port blush! The ripe aromas of red and blue berries, spice and earth display a mentholated top note. The dense, powerful and mouthcoating broad-shouldered flavors possess evident muscularity while delivering excellent length on the youthfully austere finale. This isn't refined, indeed it's borderline rustic, but it's a dramatic and impressive wine that should live for decades.

9m 6d ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Minots in Chablis is generally considered to be the warmest of all of the climats within Vaillons yet curiously the wines always seem to retain good acidity.

11m 2d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  19 wines 

A 1978 Dujac Gevrey Chambertin Aux Combottes quickly stole the show from the 1985 flight. This was a perfect example of a wine punching above its weight class. ‘Wow,’ started my notes. It was close to the Clos de la Roche with a sappy, sexy nose full of musk, along with great concentration, pitch and a leathery finish. There was not a lot of spitting once the reds came around, and the notes were getting sloppy. I wrote something about putting something to bed, in bed, I can’t quite tell, maybe I was referring to myself lol (97).

1y 1m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 / Gorgeous, subtle, layered Mouton with delicate and detailed flavors that linger on the palate for a long time. The density of the tannins combine with wonderful freshness and layers of flavors that range from dark berries, savory spices to cedar and earth. A glorious Mouton that has stature and concentration without any heaviness. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The latter two varieties were co-fermented.


99 points

1y 5m ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Tasting wines from 1980's like Sassicaia 1985, Mouton 1985, Hill of Grace 1989, Opus One 1984 etc.

1y 9m ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  50 wines 

Montrachet - Vintage 2005 Domaine de la Romanée Conti
“An opulent, ripe and moderately oaked in-your-face nose explodes from the glass, bringing incredibly com- plex and layered aromas that run from floral, citrus, spice and a full range of white and yellow fruit notes that complement to perfection the lush, rich and amazingly concentrated broad-scaled flavors that are underpinned by an intense minerality and a palate staining finish of simply unbelievable length. At this young stage, this is a massive Montrachet that is long on power and muscle and while it’s not as elegant as say the 2000, 2002 or 2004 versions, I believe that the refinement one typically finds in this wine will come in time. In sum, for sheer vi- nous fireworks, this is hard to beat and to call it a “wow” wine would be a considerable understatement. However, note that plenty of time will be required and it will be one of the longest-lived vintages in recent memory. A great, great effort.”(98pts BH)

2y 6m ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Louis Jadot Batard-Montrachet 2017 / A less elegant and slightly more wood-influenced nose offers up restrained aromas of essence of white flowers that includes rose petal, lavender and acacia blossom as well as discreet citrus nuances. There is both more volume and richness to the large-scaled, intense and powerful flavors that evidence seriously good punch and power on the muscular and wonderfully long finish. This is an impressive built-to-age Bâtard.
Barrel Sample: 92-95

2y 9m ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Domaine Liger-Belair, La Romanée Grand Cru, Burgundy, 2011/ Seductive nose with complex layers of flavours that are persistent and long. Gorgeous wines with focus, depth and a profile that ranges from flowers, spices and herbs to red berry fruits. Delicate, persistent and classy.


2y 10m ago

 Allen Meadows / BWW2022 - Best Burgundy Critic of the World, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Domaine Ponsot . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2005 / Prepare to be transported. A positively brilliant nose of violet and rose petal shines against a background of intensely spiced extravagant red and black pinot fruit nuanced by hints of earth and stone and this minerality continues onto the surprisingly supple flavors that convey a remarkable sense of energy and power on the almost unbelievably intense, focused and structured finish that seems to go on and on without end. And the '05 VV has what all truly great burgundies have which is that extra dimension of power without weight as this carries terrific punch and power yet delivers that explosiveness with impeccable class and grace. While I am duly mindful of the many legendary wines this domaine has produced (see the database for all vintages reviewed dating to 1919), the 2005 could very well join the list of the all time greats, there is really that much potential here. Whether it will ultimately transcend the heights achieved by the 1919 or the 1949 (among many others) remains an open question, I have zero doubt that 2005 will be a genuinely great vintage for this wine. Brilliance personified and absolutely a 'wow' wine, in fact, this merits a double 'wow'.

2y 11m ago

 Domaine Ponsot  has updated producer and wine information

3y 6d ago

 Domaine Ponsot  has updated producer and wine information

3y 1m ago

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