First, something of a rarity – a Ponsot 1994.
Laurent Ponsot recounted to me this week that “In 1994 most of my neighbours picked a bit too early and had grapes full of rot. Me, (he said with a smile) I picked a bit too late and also had grapes full of rot! The wines were not very good and not something I wanted to put my label on, so I sent them all for distillation.” I pointed out that the de Chézeaux Griotte of 1994 proudly proclaimed him as the producer; “Yes, it’s true. I told the Mercier family (owners of his metayage parcels) what I was doing with my wines but they refused to follow – so for their contracted share of the crop, I had to deliver the bottles.”
1994 des Chézeaux/Ponsot, Griotte-Chambertin
The colour is not bad – certainly no browning here. An intriguing nose – a suggestion of the balsamic but there was no real oxidative character – despite a cork that crumbled into pieces and did, itself, smell very sherried! Still there was a certain hardness to the aromas that couldn’t really be described as an invitation to drink. In the mouth, slightly metallic – but not blood/iron – quite mouth-filling and with balanced acidity – but still, like the nose, with a certain hardness. I drank only one glass and returned the bottle to the fridge. On day two the aromas and flavours were more relaxed – this was a very stable wine with no obvious faults and it was certainly better on day two when I could manage two glasses! Because of its scarcity, Griotte is exceptionally expensive these days but this particular bottle was worth no more than €20 – and only for the experience – so if you find one, you have been warned!
Rebuy – No
1995 Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée Les Bossières
The 95s and 96s of Grivot – for a long time – could only be described as monolithic wines. Despite (selling!) merchants describing new approaches and ‘wonderful clarity’ in the early 2000s. then the mid-2000s, then again in the early 2010s, etcetera, etcetera, for me it was the same-old, same-old story. Only in the last 2-3 years have I seen the stirrings of real extra clarity and accessibility in the hands of Mathilde Grivot that make me want to return to taste new vintages. But let’s return to the 95s and 96s: After years of being uninteresting, in the last couple of years I have found many of these Grivot wines to be opening and really delivering some impressive performances – at last. Memorably there was this Richebourg but others have begun to deliver too, such as a 96 Nuits Boudots at a tasting, last week, of 1996s (to come for subscribers) and this 1995 too. Note, another rather spongy cork that was never, ever, going to be released from the neck in one piece!
Medium, medium-plus colour with a very subtle browning at the rim. This nose shows a small suggestion of both caramel and spice – maybe even a little cigar – it is a good invitation to drink, having no obvious faults. In the mouth nicely – but not overly – structural with good balance and whilst still underpinned by a little tannin there is no-longer any harshness to this experience. Decent length and nicely clean finishing – another glass? I don’t mind if I do. Finally, this is very good and another stable wine – like the Ponsot – zero problems with the wine on day 2.
Rebuy – Maybe
2020 Jean Chartron, Puligny-Montrachet
A direct nose with some stone fruit that was accented with florals. Such flavour energy and a growing intensity to this flavour too – really a mouth-watering and energetic wine – tension indeed. It’s lovely – topped off with a vibrantly tasty finish. Excellent villages and very Puligny…
Rebuy – Yes