Ponsot   Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

2007 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

By Ponsot

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Teak, rosewood, fresh purple plum, and fresh animal blood fascinatingly scent Ponsot’s 2007 Clos St.-Denis Cuvee Tres Vieilles Vignes, and their counterparts inform a satin-textured, sumptuous, yet animated and animating palate whose sweetness of fruit; depth of marrowy as well as sanguinary meatiness; and alluringly exotic inner-mouth evocations of aromatic woods are underlain also with the array of mineral complexities – imperfectly described as “saline,” “stony,” or “peat-like” that characterize this great site (more than half of whose acreage is incorporated in Ponsot bottling). This finishes with a resonance, clarity, levity (despite its alcoholic richness) and sheer persistence rare even in Burgundy’s highest echelons, to say nothing of in 2007. I predict that this will also transcend other 2007s in its aging potential and continue to offer thrills for 20-25 years. I asked Laurent Ponsot what he though were the critical factors in avoiding the prevalent pink, under-ripe grapes scattered within the clusters of 2008 vintage Pinot Noir, whose undesirable flavors were bound to have concentrated under the influence of late September wind right along with those of the properly ripe berries. “First of all,” he replied, “you had to prune correctly, which is the beginning of everything – like being in front of a piece of wood or stone as a sculptor and beginning to carve a statue. It’s artistic – not simply something that will determine how many grapes (you end up with). After that, you focus on working with and not in opposition to nature’s cycle. Why are we always the last in Burgundy to pick their grapes? It’s because we pick on time.” In the case of 2008, that meant commencing on the eighth of October; and Ponsot’s 2007s – which taste as though they must come from a completely unfamiliar not to mention remarkably great vintage – were not picked until after the middle of September. “I wasn’t sure in early tastings,” says Ponsot about his 2008s, “that all of the elements would fit together into something harmonious.” For the most part, though, they have – at least, based on my tastings from a range of barrels in late winter. With regard to the distinctively delicious and atypical personality I discovered in Ponsot’s 2007s, readers should bear in mind that he employs some of the lowest levels of sulfur in Burgundy, so there’s no pepping-up going on here by means of dosage, which is seldom employed at all! I couldn’t help thinking as I tasted them: was this much excitement really implicit in 2007 generally and somehow the opportunity to capture it was missed at more than 90% of the addresses where I taste? Incidentally, the big news at Domaine Ponsot last year – although, Laurent Ponsot’s choice of synthetic closures for future bottlings and his remorseless pursuit of forgers and security justifiably made headlines – was that there will be Corton, Corton-Bressandes, and Corton-Charlemagne here beginning with vintage 2009. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL; tel. (205) 980-8802

David Schildknecht - The Wine Advocate, 28 June 2010

Vintage performance