Ponsot   Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

2008 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru

By Ponsot

2008 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru from Ponsot, Burgundy

In the pantheon of Burgundian excellence, the 2008 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru from Ponsot emerges as a testament to the resilience and surprising elegance that the 2008 vintage could achieve in the hands of sagacious winemakers. Despite a growing season plagued by erratic weather, culminating in a harvest that tested the mettle of even the most seasoned vignerons, this grand cru finds a balance between depth and levity that is nothing short of miraculous.


A Vintage Defined by Adversity and Triumph

The marriage of old vines' wisdom and winemaker prowess is eloquently expressed in this wine, where a story of 2008's climatic rigors is told with every sip. The year's cool summer and damp conditions coursed through Burgundy, casting an ominous shadow over the region’s prized vineyards. Yet, it was those same challenging conditions that tightened the aromatic and flavor profiles, giving rise to the nuanced sophistication now resting in collectors' cellars.

A measure of patience rewards the enthusiast with a bouquet that weaves raspberry brambles with wilted rose, while subtle earthy undercurrents of truffle indicate an apex of maturation. The palate continues to unfurl with precision: tart red cherries and a rondeur imparted by its time well-spent in oak barrels. There remains an acidic backbone, atypical but refreshing for Burgundian standards, preserving the wine’s longevity—an attribute always welcomed by investors looking for endurance in their portfolio.


An Inimitable Expression from Ponsot

Ponsot has proven once again to be adept at capturing subtlety amidst adversity. A wine like the 2008 Clos St Denis Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru, steeped in the tenets of its challenging vintage yet resiliently elegant, not only showcases their skill but offers a narrative-rich experience for both sipper and investor alike.

As it matures gracefully, there's no doubt that this wine encapsulates a distinct terroir expression—a Burgundian symphony composed in a minor key with an uplifting finale—that prospectively amplifies its venerable place among discerning portfolios. Its evolution over time will certainly continue to captivate and reward those astute enough to recognize its investment calibre wrapped within an enological marvel. Here lies not just a bottle but an artefact of vinous history from a vintage where true viticultural artistry shines through.

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Ponsot’s 2008 Clos St.-Denis Cuvee Tres Vieilles Vignes smells of violets, tar, game, and black fruits in a manner that puts me momentarily in mind of a great Barolo. Rich purple plum and blackberry pour out over a creamy palate while inner-mouth profusion of violet and lily – along with underlying salt and stone – serve for allure, intrigue, and saliva-inducement. This is a distinctly decadent as well as mysteriously and complexly-nuanced Pinot that finishes with haunting length and the promise of two decades, perhaps more, of fascination. 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