February 28, 2008

Domaine Ponsot 2005 Tasting

Pin It

Last night I went to the eagerly anticipated tasting of the 2005 vintage from Burgundy’s Domaine Ponsot. The tasting was organized by the HK supplier Altaya Wines, run by my friend Paulo, and was held at the China Club.

2005 has been touted as a sort of “vintage of the century”, and the Domaine’s top wine – Clos de la Roche Vielles Vignes – earned a score of 99 points from critic Allen Meadows. Many of us present had purchased our allocation of these wines, but since we would likely not open them until the wines have reached maturity 10-20 years later, it was a rare chance to get a feel for the wines across the range.

We started with the 2005 Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Clos des Monts Luisants. This is a monopole white made from old vines Aligoté, planted in 1911. Laurent Ponsot explained that many people do not know that in the old days, Aligoté made up a significant portion of the white wine production in Burgundy. The nose was a little "hot", with notes of pear and minerals. Acidity was on the high side, with a slightly bitter after palate. While Laurent is obviously very proud about this special wine, I think I would stay with Chardonnays in Burgundy...

Next up was a trio of village wines. The 2005 Chambolle-Musigny Cuvée des Cigales had a sweet grassy nose, with notes of strawberries. In fact it smelled a little like a new world pinot...The tannins were evident, while there was a lot of acidity. This combination should actually make for a good one in the long run.

The 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée de L'Abeille was my favorite of the three, an opinion shared by others at the table. The nose was very sweet, fruity and forward, much more fragrant than the Chambolle. Compared to the Chambolle, the tannins here were much lighter. Overall this wine drinks much better now in its youth.

The 2005 Morey-St-Denis Cuvée des Grives - situated between Gevrey-Chambertin and Chambolle-Musigny - was not very attractive. The nose smelled a bit "medicinal" and the fruit only showed up much later in the tasting. Tannin levels were between those of the Gevrey and the Chambolle, and I could taste the significant acidity. On the palate it probably was the middle ground between Gevrey and Chambolle.

We then moved to the pair of 1er Crus. The 2005 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes was a significant improvement over the village wine. The nose was very intense, sweet with a hint of grass and a strong dose of iron and minerals. Here we have again a wine that reminds me of blood. Tannins were soft and the acidity was well-balanced. Very nice.

The 2005 Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Cuvée des Alouettes was a very ripe and forward wine with an even sweeter nose. I tasted a bit of tannin but the wine was pretty well-balanced. Very enjoyable and significantly higher on the quality scale than the village wine.

The two grand crus from Chambertin were served next. The 2005 Chapelle-Chambertin  again showed a sweet, grassy nose with black cherries. The wine very very smooth, ripe but not "hot". There was a bit of acidity on the palate. Very, very enjoyable and again a notch above the 1er Crus.

The 2005 Griotte-Chambertin, which Laurent Ponsot described as the "lolita" readily displaying her charmes, was for me the wine of the tasting. It was a ripe and powerful wine, with an explosively sweet nose that blew me away. Drinking today, it showed a bit better than the Chapelle-Chambertin - the "lady" as Laurent would describe it.

Views were divided across the table as to which one performed better. The vines were planted with the same clone, and the harvest dates were almost identical. But the terroir of the wine showed through...

The last wine of the tasting was of course the 2005 Clos de la Roche Vielles Vignes. Everyone had high expectations, and I dare say that most were at least somewhat disappointed. The acidity was quite high, and the nose was very muted - I didn't get any fruit out of it. As Laurent said, this wine would probably reach maturity only in 20 years, so I guess we will wait and see.

1. Don't buy the village wines (which I did not).
2. 1er Cru is worth buying (bought the Chambolle-Musigny).
3. The two Grand Crus from Chambertin are better value than the Clos de la Roche VV (bought all of them, but my allocation on Griotte and Chapelle was smaller than the Clos de la Roche!)

Post Script: After the tasting, a few of us got together for dinner at Bonheur. Michelle brought a bottle of 1985 Guigal Cote-Rotie Brune et Blonde, which we drank happily. I have served the three single-vineyard Cote-Rotie LaLaLa's in an MNSC tasting 3 years ago, and was looking forward to tasting their cousin. It drank beautifully - especially for the price paid. It was a classic Cote-Rotie with the telltale perfumed nose from the viognier. Very smooth after more than 20 years' of aging, the tannins were soft and yummy.

I brought along a bottle of 2002 Pax Syrah Walker Vine Hill. This is from one of my favorite Californian Syrah producers, and it's basically a fruit bomb weighing in at 15.2% alcohol. We decanted the bottle, each had a couple of sips, and poured the wine back into the bottle. I will be having it tonight after 24 hours...

The food at Bonheur was good as usual. My starter of jamon iberico with raclette cheese was a good way to begin the meal. The main course of roast pigeon on asparagus risotto was excellent. The pigeon was yummy and the risotto was al dente - a very pleasant surprise. Finally, the croissant and bread pudding was a good way to end the meal.

The restaurant was packed as usual. I should make a point of going to Bonheur a bit more. Needless to say, I was very well toasted by the time dinner was done...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map