Ponsot   Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

2005 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

By Ponsot

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The 2005 Clos St.-Denis Cuvee du Centenaire – from vines planted in 1905 – is remarkable for the intensity and richness of its black fruit and exotically floral nose, its creaminess and almost Esszencia-like glycerin-richness, unctuousness, and viscosity, sumptuous flavors of black fruits, game, brown spices, blond tobacco, and preserved walnut, and a finish with prominent fruit pit bitterness but exhibiting remarkable subtlety. There is a Riesling-like intricacy of fruit-mineral interplay outlasting the sheer, stubborn clinging richness of fruit. Alas, a mere 125 cases will be bottled of this amazing wine. Laurent Ponsot (like his father) vinifies to the beat of a different drummer, whether it is in his employment of a basket press from 1945, his reliance on exclusively (truly) old barrels, his aggressive pigeage, or his virtual refusal (since 1988) to sulfur the wines (nitrogen and CO2 are administered at bottling). The results are as distinctive as the methods, but also profoundly impressive and proven to age magnificently. Certainly one has to adjust to a background level of chocolate and that lack of a certain “pep” that is otherwise conveyed, MSG-wise, to wines given a normal quota of sulfur during their elevage. But after a few samples – and especially when I re-tasted these wines “cold” at 7:00 A.M. – I was fully attuned to their virtues. The alcohols in 2005 are as high as 15%, but you do not notice it, even when told. Asked when he intends to bottle, Ponsot replies “I don’t know. Maybe one or two in the Spring, maybe before the harvest, maybe afterward.” Importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL; tel. (205) 980-8802.

David Schildknecht - The Wine Advocate, 29 April 2007

Vintage performance