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The Story

Clos de la Roche, the Ponsot domaine’s largest holding, is one of the four fine tete du cuvée vineyards in the little town of Morey-St Denis. It produces one of the great wines of Burgundy - deeply colored, spicy, rich and often quite firm. This vineyard, running north from Morey-St Denis and sharing its border with Latriciéres-Chambertin at the southern end of the great Chambertin vineyards, is justifiably noted for wines that age well.


Of all the villages of the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is one of the most fruitful in terms of the number of its Grands Crus. The Clos de Tart, which remains a solely-held entity, was founded by the Cistercians of Tart in 1141. Since that date, it has been owned by only three families. The Clos Saint-Denis came on the scene in the 11th century, thanks to the fortress of Vergy. The Clos de la Roche and Clos des Lambrays are both semi-monopoles and both have long histories which have involved some adjustment of boundaries between Climats. The Clos de la Roche and Clos Saint-Denis were awarded their Grand Cru appellations on 8 December 1936, Clos de Tart on 4 January 1939, and Clos des Lambrays 27 April 1981.
Facing east or slightly south of east at around 250 metres above sea-level, these Climats may be seen as a southerly extension of the Grands Crus of Gevrey-Chambertin. First comes the Clos de la Roche, then Clos Saint-Denis followed by Clos des Lambrays, and finally Clos de Tart leading to Bonnes-Mares.

Limestone dominates in the Clos de la Roche where the soil is barely 30 cm deep with few pebbles but with large boulders which give the climat its name. In the Clos de Tart, scree-derived soils 40-120 cm thick cover the underlying limestone. The Upper part of the Clos des Lambrays is marly with claylimestone soil further down. The Clos Saint-Denis at the foot of the slope has pebble-free brown limestone soils which contain phosphorus (like Chambertin) and clay (like Musigny). 

Diversity is to be expected as each Grand Cru has its own personality. To the eye, this wine is plain ruby, sometimes a bit darker. Veiled in strawberry and violet, the Clos de Tart offers both robustness and charm. Quite tannic when young, it softens with age while gaining in complexity. The Clos des Lambrays is a true aristocrat, fully rounded in youth and with added depth and gravity as the years go by. The Clos Saint-Denis impresses by its finely–tuned nuances – this wine is the Mozart of the Côte de Nuits. The Clos de la Roche is firmer, deeper and more serious, closely akin to Chambertin. Aromas of humus and truffle are often precursors to notes of small red or black fruits. A small part of the BONNES-MARES appellation lies in this commune, but the greater part is in Chambolle-Musigny. (See Fact-sheet No. 5).

Intense and full-bodied when fully mature, these wines have a densely tannic texture and an aromatic richness which makes them a fitting - and equal - partner for feathered game. They are perfect, too, with a rib steak and, for lovers of Asian cuisine, adapt well to the aromatic intensity of glazed poultry. Their supple but virile tannins go well with veal (braised or in sauce) and with roast or braised lamb. One must also not forget their invaluable affinity for strong-flavoured soft-centred cheeses.

Serving temperatures : 12 to 13 °C for young wines, 15 to 16 °C for older wines.

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Wine Information

CLOS DE LA ROCHE Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2005
Classification: Grand Cru Red
Yield: 9 112 bottles / 1 200 magnums / 100 jeroboams / 6 mathusalems

Lot number: 2005C
Production Surface: 3,4 hectares / 8,40 acres
1st vintage produced: 1872
1st estate bottling: 1934

Age of the vines: 58 years old
Grape and density: Pinot Noir - 12 000 plants/hectare (4 850 plants per acre)

Geology: Appellation located on the Oligocene filling, composed of conglomerates, limestone
and clay. Because of its position in foot of slope, the ground nevertheless is strewn with limestone fall (calcaire à entroques).

Culture of the vine: Very short pruning
Soil: ploughing/scarifying/no weed killer
Respect of the ecosystem (no pesticide) Organic fertilizers

Grape picking: Manual out of wicker basket / Very hard selection of berries in the vineyard
Dates: from September 24th, 2005 to September 28th, 2005

Vinification: Maceration during 14 days in oak vat and pressing on a 1945 vertical press.
No addition of yeast or enzyme, neither chaptalization, nor acidification

Aging: In old oak barrels (5 to 20 years). Racking after malo-lactic
Bottling: Done in September 2007 - Blending of the «cuvée» under nitrogen
No fining, no filtration, no addition of SO²
Food / Wine: Pheasant with small vegetebles
Charolais beef any style
Big Cheeses dish
Drinking temperature: 14°C / 16°C – 57 to 61 °Fahrenheit
Laying down: Good to drink from 2025 / Potential: 60 years

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles-Vignes 2005 / 99 points / All the superb and dramatic complexity that this displayed from barrel has made it into bottle as an extremely ripe and fantastically broad nose soars from the glass, merging seamlessly into dense, pure rich and powerful flavors that are opulent, sweet and dripping with so much extract and sap that the combination stains and saturates the palate on the hugely proportioned yet impeccably balanced finish that is so long that it doesn't seem possible. Given how many reference standard vintages Domaine Ponsot has produced of the Clos de la Roche over the years, it would be presumptuous to anoint this as the best ever but if it isn't, it will certainly take its rightful place among the very greatest. In sum, a 'wow' wine that makes you shake your head in sheer amazement. However be aware that this is a buy and forget wine as it will require at least 15 years to shed its considerable tannins and it will see 50 years without difficulty.

As is his usual practice, Laurent Ponsot was one of the last growers to begin picking reporting that he began on "September 27th, which is the same day that we began in 2005. The July 27th hail storm cost us greatly in terms of yield as we suffered heavy losses in Griotte, Chapelle and Charmes. But my vineyard team organized immediately and within 3 hours after the end of the storm, they were in the vines spraying to protect against rot. There was wind with the storm, which means that the hail hit the vines from the side. Now that's bad for the grapes but good for the leaves, which allowed the vines to recover more quickly as the leaves were able to continue photosynthesizing to provide energy to both heal wounds and ripen the grapes properly. Sugars were actually high at between 13 to 14%. I think that it's partially because of the low yields that we aim for and in the hail damaged sectors, very low yields and partially because there was still a good leaf canopy. Because we harvested late and had good phenolic ripeness, I didn't change anything with respect to my vinification. I love the '06s and they are, in my view, every bit as good as the 2002s." Fans of the domaine will note that there is no Morey villages Cuvée des Grives as the vineyard was replanted in 2006. As to the Ponsot '05s, Ponsot was unexpectedly called away on an urgent matter just as our cellar visit was ending and unfortunately I did not have the chance to taste the full range of the prior vintage in bottle as I usually do. However, I did manage to get to three '05s and they confirm the brilliance of the Ponsot '05s. I'm not sure why this wine seemed to have so completely captured the imagination of burg lovers in 2005 but in my various travels after the release of Issue 25, no one wine was so asked about and discussed. Just as with the 2005 Mugnier Musigny and the DRC monopoles, I am very happy to be able to report that in my view, the 2005 old vines Clos de la Roche is every bit as great as its performance last year from barrel suggested it would be. It is a profound effort destined to make very old bones indeed. While the price for this gem has unfortunately spiked considerably, for those who bought I only say congratulations, you should be very, very happy. Lastly, it's not me taking a bit of journalistic license by adding the modifier "Très" to the 2006 Clos St. Denis. Ponsot told me that effective with the 2006 vintage, the new name for the Clos St. Denis is Très Vieilles Vignes.

  • 99p

Medium-full colour. Now some maturity. Marvelous concentrated black cherry nose. Splendid complexity. Medium-full body. Still just a little tannin to resolve. Great depth and grip. And a brilliant finish. Very fine indeed.

  • 98p
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Beaune, Burgundy

Other wines from this producer


Chapelle Chambertin

Charmes Chambertin

Clos de la Roche

Clos de Vougeot

Clos Saint-Denis

Clos Saint-Denis Très Vieilles Vignes

Clos St. Denis

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru

Corton Cuvée des Bourdons


Latricières Chambertin

Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Clos Des Monts Luisants

Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Monts Luisants Vieilles Vignes

Morey-Saint-Denis Cuvée des Alouettes

Romanée-St-Vivant Grand Cru


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